Goodbye Gunther

Frank Wurzinger’s Goodbye Günther takes the audience on a curious little journey through facing the inevitabilities of life and death, which provides ample amounts of gentle humour and touching melancholy. The eponymous hero of the show reveals his life as that of a lonely eccentric, provided sole company by his goldfish. It is quickly established that he only has ten more days to live, due to an unspecified terminal illness. What follows is a reassuringly upbeat reflection on his impending fate, in an effort to strike a chord with the sentiments of those watching him.

In the form of this unconventional, lonesome figure, his message holds great resonance and familiarity.

Thus, much of the comedy is derived from Günther’s apparent lack of concern for his own existence. Constantly breaking the fourth wall to communicate his own sensitivities, it is clear that Wurzinger wishes to explore the very absurdity of life itself, in the elevated context of life as sacred and death as an affliction. By doing this, it allows the protagonist to come across as somebody that we can directly communicate and sympathize with, as opposed to a character that we simply analyze and contemplate. Rather than treat mortality as a subject to be feared, Günther allows us to experience it in all of its highs and lows.

As we are led through all the trivialities and peculiarities of Günther’s life, what endures throughout the play is a persistent sense of acceptance that governs his principles. In light of his own destiny, it coaxes us, the viewers, into adopting his worldview. In the form of this unconventional, lonesome figure, his message holds great resonance and familiarity. For a show to end in tragedy, it is strange, yet heartening, to leave with a sense of renewed buoyancy.

Reviews by Robert McGowan Stuart

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Goodbye Gunther is a funny, affectionate and ultimately life-affirming show about death. It's idiosyncratic and a little bit ridiculous, but never trivial. Charmed by Gunther's optimism and dismayed by his denial, we never loose sight of his humanity in this delightful mix of physical comedy, pathos, tragedy and joy. Directed by multi award-winning John Wright.