I’m pretty sure all reviewers are terrified of audience participation. It’s almost a prerequisite of the job. When you spend your days attending shows alone and writing alone, forced companionship is daunting. Nonetheless, I made my way to Butt Kapinski, sat near the outskirts and hoped to go unnoticed. The show takes place in the dark, so I thought I was in with a good chance.
The dark didn’t last long. Private eye Butt Kapinski enters, armed with a large overhead street lamp stuffed down the back of his trenchcoat, which he swivels from himself to members of the audience as he skulks through the chairs. We’re all to play our part in a film noir, he tells us, face framed beneath the dramatic light.
The creation of Deanna Fleysher, Butt Kapinski is a comic masterpiece. With his outrageously exaggerated speech impediment and greased up charm, he manages to get even the most reluctant audience members onboard. A warm intuition allows Fleysher to know who to pluck from their seats for which roles, and nobody is made to feel uncomfortable. Rather, everyone is desperate to play in this Choose Your Own Adventure style show.
The narrative plays on tropes from classic film noirs and takes us on a journey from the seedy, rich part of town to the poor, tragic side, through meetings with whores and gurus and all the rest, in a quest to discover a murderer. Fleysher’s performance is like no other: hilarious, yes, but she also manages to make everybody present want to be her best friend in this unique form of immersive theatre. Team up with Butt Kapinski and take on the ultimate Fringe adventure.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
Butt Kapinski, Pleasance Dome, Aug 20-27 (not 21), 8.10pm