by Andy Jones
Firehall Arts Centre
February 15-20

Andy Jones may not actually be the King of Fun but he’s surely one of its princes.. The ex-CODCO, ex-Kids in the Hall Newfoundlander presents a solo show that is part stand-up, part Monty Python, part Samuel Beckett. He guarantees the audience at least 250 laughs and delivers more. Though the conceptual framework is sometimes a distraction and the laughs wane a little towards the end of an unnecessary second act, it all comes together in a brilliant finale royale when Jones replicates a routine he calls “The Funniest Man in the World.”

The show is structured around the idea that he exists simultaneously in two dimensions. One he calls the “whizgigging” dimension, a Newfoundland term that describes a certain kind of kids’ laughter which Jones defines with Beckettian eloquence: “human existence really is a joke and at that moment you get the joke--but it always ends in tears.” In Whizgiggin’ he’s a hero, a god, the king o’ fun; but in our dimension he’s just a roly-poly guy named An-Dee (though he‘s lithe for his size, and light on his feet). He shifts back and forth between these dimensions with the help of light and sound cues, explains it all with projections, and illustrates his various notions with props from an open trunk. There’s also an exploding garbage can, a bell he strikes to try to train us, Pavlov-style, and a female assistant with a counter to keep track of the laughs.

Much of the routine consists of bizarre set pieces: Plato and Aristotle in a St. John’s bar, a codfish imitation, his demonstration of a voice-activated prosthetic leg, his illustrated story of the rooster puppet who became a bishop. Woven through it all is an existential theme that questions god and death (and God’s death), with who else but Jean-Paul Sartre as a kind of patron saint. The finale, which brings together many of the evening’s images and gestures, is truly remarkable and well worth waiting for. Long live the king!

Jerry Wasserman

last updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 8:06 PM
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