Sometimes I find myself disco dancing. Sometimes I find myself acting as head nurse to a laughing-gas happy surgeon. Then, of course, there are times when I find myself swimming away from a shark! Somehow I did all three of these things in one night at the bizarre and silly and very funny mime-comedy show brought by the Polish company, Kabaret Mimika. “Mime-comedy?” Yup.
In my regular life, I’m a performer and director and (perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not) I hate audience participation as much as the next person who hates audience participation. If I’m seeing your show I’ll leave the performing up to you, thank you very much. However, the zany, generous and very low-pressure atmosphere cultivated by performers Slawek Furtak and Grzesiek Mucha brings out the inner five-year-old in even the shyest audience-goer and makes you want to play along. It’s like karaoke, but for comedy sketches. They hand you everything you need to know.
Most of the bits are simple – the mime equivalent of a one-liner – staying in the conceptual realm of “a guy walks into a bar” kind of joke. However the complexity and brilliance of the show comes in the active imagination implicit in its presentation. The whole point of mime is that the audience mentally fills in whatever object, activity, or character is encountered by the performer. Once you are already imagining, it’s not such a big step toward joining in and the results, both as a “performer” and as a witness, are somehow heart-warming as well as funny. There’s no derision in this show, just an inclusive and universal understanding for the silliness of the everyday and the comedic potential in the mundane. Furtak and Mucha know that in comedy the audience is everything and they reward theirs with staring roles.