There’s surreal, there’s even more surreal and then there’s Gravity Boots.
This Adelaide-born sketch duo ignores the conventions of sketch comedy, throwing plot resolution, punchlines and parody to the wind. To the audience they say: ‘Are you following? No? Good.’ This production makes Monty Python look like an accountants’ Christmas party and would make even the League of Gentleman feel a little uncomfortable in their seats.
The performance is haunting, unnerving and even forlorn in places. A pair of less-than MENSA level mermen recount how they became trapped on land. A pair of blind ducks seek solace in their dark inner worlds. Two manic religious zealots trade one absurd god for another. A pair of German inventors present futile and strange inventions. All the characters seem set upon and trapped in some way or other; making do with their oppressed fates. There’s no through-line to safely hold on to; and no sane character to safely champion normalcy for us; witnesses to this hallucinogenic world. Every new sketch plunges us further into unfamiliar territory.
The audience spluttered and stammered, lost in a sea of confusion, desperately grabbing for some floating object only to discover they were clutching a nightmare wrapped in treason soaked in loss. They laughed, often out of bewilderment and awkwardness. The script is complex, twisted, poetic and deeply evocative. It is a testament to the performers’ skill that they deliver such thick prose to the letter.
The performance is unrelenting in its grip on the insane. The deadpan performers’ faces are often wooden; their focus very strongly placed on the script. The occasional songs are loud and tuneless.
If Kubrick wrote sketch comedy, this would be it. I’ll not forget this performance for some time. You have to admire the bravery of the duo pushing absurdity to its limits. This is not light-hearted comic relief; if you’re after a fascinating, challenging, macabre and deeply original experience then Gravity Boots is for you.