Happy Hour (4 stars)

This article is from 2016

Happy Hour

Happy indeed is this hour spent in a room with two middle-aged Italian men exploring what it means to be alive and onstage

This hour-long show about art-making, culture, memories and masculinity made me happy indeed. It's experimental, sometimes hilarious and, no matter how wacky it waxes, ultimately honest.

Mauro Paccagnella is smaller and skinnier than Alessandro Bernardeschi. Both are bearded, middle-aged and highly characterful Italian performers based in Brussels. That they know each other very well shows in their total ease, trust and physical freedom together onstage.

After an unpretentiously warm welcome the pair launch into what turns out to be a series of unexpected creative acts, often involving costume changes. This ranges from doffing their T-shirts and donning outrageous women's wigs as a prelude to a bout of shared mock-violence, to stripping down to their knickers and marching about with eyeball-distorting rubber caps on their heads.

All of the absurdity has purpose and, at times, a certain beauty. But even when at their most outlandish the two men are revealing things about themselves and the society in which they've lived for the past half a century. And because the form of play in which they so skilfully and committedly indulge necessitates taking risks, it's good for both them and us.

Summerhall, until 14 Aug, 1.30pm, £12 (£10)

Happy Hour

  • 4 stars

Mauro Paccagnella and Alessandro Bernardeschi With their friendship and complicity spanning almost two decades, Mauro Paccagnella and Alessandro Bernardeschi meet again for a choreographic project. Performed by two bodies of the same age and weight that host the same bald patches and the same wrinkles. Two bodies that…