Leaving a show to review to the last days of the festival is sometimes unavoidable, the fringe is a beast that’s never really tameable. But hearing Zach & Viggo’s fringe run had been so successful I knew I would have to make sure I fit this one in before the festival closes.
With their show being sold out one would forgive the duo for being a little laissez-faire but true to form and maintaining the spirit of what the fringe is all about, an hour before their second show there they stood the two fellas continuing to drum up a midnight audience.
Needless to say the show sold out.
As midnight came and went the atmosphere was set and the audience was eager. With music blaring and people filing in like sardines the show was about to begin.
Any show like Thunderflop runs the risk of peaking early as these first scenes, bits, sketches and moments that are created on stage can have such an early response from the audience that it can be difficult to maintain the momentum.
But for the Zach & Viggo the more they seemed to give the more they were able to lure the audience in, we never expected more and yet they continued to hit us from left field. From a tricky arcade game and a determined magician to a ‘Hollywood’ actor and a rather eager security guard what Zach & Viggo do is nothing short of genius and refreshing.
Zach & Viggo have an hour and to grab hold of their audience and provide them with something original and the bigger the audience the bigger the pressure. Every now and then you’d hear a gasp from their techie which in itself added another layer to the enjoyment of the craziness that they're creating on stage.
"...by the end of their show, the audience got to the feet and the atmosphere was palpable."
During their opening, Zach & Viggo was able to gauge their packed audience which would go on to underpin their whole show. This was an inventive way that doesn’t feel like you’re being assessed and really helped to lower the inhibitions of the audience. With audience participation shows the audience can, at times, feel the lack of confidence in the performer. Once the audience gets this first sniff of weakness they start to rebel against their part of the show. By holding back on their cue a stony silence takes over the room with everybody freezing hoping to be overlooked.
In a strange way that’s the point of audience interaction, getting a whole audience up for it is great but part of the fun is their ‘reluctance’.
Zach & Viggo are charming and their chemistry is infectious and with their constant looks, winks, smirks and asides to the audience helping to fill the gaps in-between their larger scenes. Every now and then there is a dark element to their work that could be explored later, hopefully, but for now all we get is a little suggestion of where they could go with their material. They are so manic on stage, allowing some scenes to be really stretched - the security guard, actor, and priest - as far as possible without losing any of their humour or the impact.
Words seem meaningless when you consider the natural response that the audience showed at the end of the show. I can not underestimate how rare a standing ovation is at the fringe, it’s almost as rare as a salad option at the corner chip-shop, but by the end of their show, the audience got to the feet and the atmosphere was palpable.
Zach & Viggo have created a show that is loaded with the right balance of quirky silliness, light shades of darkness, and a wonderful infusion of personality. I wasn’t up for another comedy show but Thunderflop isn’t just another comedy show, it genuinely is something altogether special.