As the audience take their seats Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan—or rather, Grareth Krubb and Dennis Chang—welcome you into Rucks’s Leather Interiors showroom. They hand out business cards while running a sales pitch for their leather goods with the catch phrase “imagine a room covered in skin” and they admire any leather products people in the audience have with them.
The welcome is the extent of the audience interaction. The rest of the performance takes place on stage in the ‘office’. With minimal dialogue, their brilliant skills in clowning and physical theatre take the audience through their absurd day. There is whimsical exploration of their office relationship. Briefcases become dogs. Everyday office banter mutates into surreal scenarios. And in a fight of dominance they take on animalistic behaviours to explore their underlying sexual tension in absurd acrobatic displays.
The most ordinary office staples such as coffee cups and sheets of paper are used in a variety of hilariously unexpected ways. The simple act of looking for a pen while on a phone call becomes a madly chaotic farce.
Trygve and Barnie are masters at clowning and together in Different Party they form a great odd-couple comedy partnership. The never-ending source of slapstick and visual gags from the various props around the stage is inspired: a wafer biscuit snack becomes a believable cigarette, a pot plant is involved in a ridiculously funny running gag, and a scenario on the sourcing of leather for a new chair cover is hilariously grotesque.
Both performers have been being nominated for various fringe and comedy festival awards in the past few years and Different Party shows why. Trygve and Barnie each have other shows on during the festival (Nautilus, and Weekend at Barnies respectively) and if Different Party is anything to go by, those two shows will also worth trying to catch.
Different Party is at ACMI until April 23rd