Ad Hoax Productions, Sketches of the Underworld

Review in Issue 13-4 | Winter 2001

This was a series of vignettes, loosely held together by a plot, in which an angel needs the help of a devil to recover a letter, the pair travelling through the circles of hell à la Dante. Ad Hoax are a young company who in this show demonstrate some of the problems associated with a cast of two performing an ambitious piece. In attempting to mix Bouffon, satire, comedy, circus skills and mask work, coupled with some elaborate props, the show lost focus – and, most importantly for the comedy, timing. Too often the audience were left looking at a dark stage, while the performers arranged the set; they then played the next scene with a frenetic energy and knowledge that the momentum had been lost. Also, much of the comedy relied on elaborate mock epic language, which could not resurrect the pace.

This all may seem harsh, but there was one scene of absolute brilliance hinting at other potentials. The lights come up on a huge figure, swathed in black and holding a baby, suggestive of a Madonna and child. Both are wearing black and white masks of grotesque clowns; we learn through the child’s tantrums that he is born every day, asks for the same tale and shrieks if denied. We watch as he disappears back into the womb, the mother soundlessly screaming. Here hell was vividly evoked, and the two performers were relaxed enough to really play the scene; they knew the effect they wished to create. This scene made me hope that Ad Hoax will continue to develop and work to simplify, focus and relax.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-4
p. 28 - 29