- Marissa Burgess
- 22 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Silliness, satire and seriousness from Nordic pairing
Norwegian duo Lars Berrum and Martin Beyer-Olsen are trying to educate us about culture. The cheek! As they point out their nation is only, technically, just over 100 years old, so what would they know? But they have got some smashing fjords and oil. This is clever, probing humour masquerading as silly. All comedic genres are lampooned with crowd-work being deconstructed, Beyer-Olsen's 'serious comic' swivels from jokey to depressingly earnest, and a couple of random awards are flying around.
As you might expect from the title, they are also here to educate us in all matters highbrow. It's clear that they have the ideal qualifications, with their analytic chat about the works of Henrik Ibsen and preference for red wine. Then they are delightfully disparaging about members of the audience until they find one who has a job that's cultural enough to land them in their VIP area. But within the Nordic snootiness, their native Norway comes in for a ribbing too, portrayed as a reserved country that keep itself to itself and doesn't warm to refugees.
The show does dip a little in places but that barely matters as there are plenty stand-out moments invested with both gravity and tomfoolery. The searing satire of Berrum's xenophobic speech following a recreation of the Anders Breivik terrorist-attack story is powerful and mightily uncomfortable, whereas Beyer-Olsen's art lecture is wonderfully ridiculous. And seeing two grown men in polo necks dance around in perfect co-ordination on a tiny stage in a small room is always going be enjoyable.
The Stand 2, until 25 Aug, 10.05pm, £10 (£9).