Irreverent humour and physical comedy makes this Japanese duo’s act easy to swallow and laugh with.
Mimetic comedy is becoming an increasingly rare art form in today’s day and age, so it’s always an absolute delight whenever there’s a chance to see it being performed. Last weekend, that came in the form of Japanese duo Gamarjobat, as they stopped over at the Drama Centre as part of their 2018 Asian Tour to perform a full length show.
Consisting of Ketch! and HIRO-PON, it’s hard to miss either of Gamarjobat’s members sporting red and yellow mohawks, in stark contrast to their spiffy suits. There’s an unbridled sense of joy in watching them enthusiastically emerge from the wings and begin their act, engaging the audience with a madcap series of wordless tricks, helped by their mysterious briefcase of wondrous props. From ‘metamorphosing’ into chickens as they pass behind a screen to finding an endless stream of ping pong balls emerging from their mouths, many of the tricks seem simple, but require immense skill and coordination to pull off and find the humour in. They’re masters of their own body and able to adroitly maintain each humorous illusion for as long as they choose to.
The true joy of Gamarjobat however, comes from their ability to commit entirely to an illusion, yet choose to reveal the mechanics behind it. In swallowing a sword, they inadvertently reveal it is a retractable one, while in another scene, they joke and play with each other, mischievously hitting the other over the head with a squeaky hammer, or pretending to be a robot. By stripping the illusions of its magic, Gamarjobat’s acts become funny through their determination to expose the simplicity behind each act, and their own confidence and infectious energy in committing completely to following through each act.
As a full length performance, there are times it feels like the duo are attempting to pad the time by extending jokes beyond their limit of humour, and one imagines that their beginnings at Fringe Festivals might have resulted in a much tighter act. But at its heart, Gamarjobat remains undeniably fun and appealing to people of all ages, whether they’re playing a game of cat and mouse with each other by miming an ‘escalator’ or pranking audience members by inviting them up on stage for a little practical joke. As they don penguin suits and strum their electric guitars, there’s very little reason not to sit back and allow yourself to willingly enter and revel in their madcap world of rock and roll.
Performance attended 24/3/18 (Matinee)
Gamarjobat plays at the Drama Centre Theatre on 24th March. Tickets available from SISTIC