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Fringe Theatre: Review

Where The World Is Going, That's Where We Are Going

Where The World Is Going, That's Where We Are Going

Summerhall

IT probably isn't essential for audiences to know the inner workings of 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot's novel Jacques the Fatalist and His Master before coming to see the Hof van Eede company's contribution to the Fringe's Big in Belgium strand, but it might help. Jacques, after all, was one of the earliest known novels to mix up the fictional form in a way that questioned the very essence of what a novel could be while also offering up a treatise on free will.

Post-modernism before its time, as one of this show's scholarly protagonists wryly observes.

Things begin casually, with a bookish young man and woman who may or may not be a couple declaring their intention to introduce Diderot's ideas to us as they might in a lecture or a book group. Over the next hour of flirtation, bickering, misunderstandings and sixth form level misinterpretations of personal politics, the pair skirt around each other in a discursive and wilfully without punchline piece of self-referential meta-theatre.

Among a series of fascinating elucidations on Amazonian archers, true love and other great adventures, one is reminded both of Ronnie Corbett's weekly armchair monologues on The Two Ronnies as well as the regular opening exchanges between the happy couple giving their own particular and often contradictory versions of events in 1970s sitcom No Honestly.

While neither of these reference points are likely to be big in Belgium, they're no more out there than other exchanges in Ans and Louise Van den Eede's script. By the time performers Jeroen Van Der Ven and Ans Van den Eede go onto the streets by way of a short filmed epilogue, mutual understanding has evolved into something else in this quietly witty extended literary gag which invites audiences to do as they please.

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