“Douze delivers by the bucketload”
The format of Douze is simple enough: a musical group showcasing nine songs for Ireland’s latest Eurovision entry, and the audience has to vote for their favourite at the end. Voting slips will be found on the seats as the audience come in.
To begin, the lights go down and, as they return, the tension builds as the star of the show, Xnthony (Anthony Keiger), with his back to the audience, stands in front of a gold-tinselled backdrop. Xnthony is then revealed from behind an EU-starred cape, sporting statement make-up and a bespangled, very low-cut wrester’s singlet. Supporting him are the Penny Slots (Hannah Fisher and Tiffany Murphy), dressed in royal blue cheerleaders’ outfits, already out of breath and with make-up ready-smeared (emphasising the depiction of their supporting role). And it only gets more crazy and energetic from there.
Yes, there are nine songs (which do a good job on satirising the various musical styles of Eurovision). Yes, there is a vote. Yes there is the cattiness and viciously competing egos under the showbiz smiles. Yes, there is politics. (You will hear “Yes” quite a lot during the show). All this though are buried under the physical slapstick on stage and the none-too-subtle comedy outrage perpetrated both on-stage and off. The team make excellent use of the entire theatre space throughout the performance, but beware: sitting at the back may not save you from audience participation, which can verge on the blush-inducing.
As the action becomes increasingly energetic, the lasciviousness of the looks and poses become more apparent. While both women dance vigorously throughout, some of the noises, especially coming from Tiffany, are quite remarkable. One is pretty sure the Penny Slots get their name from their costumes. For sure that would be pre-decimal coinage.
Production levels in this medium-sized (at least for the Fringe) venue is good. Audio quality is high throughout and there is a tremendous use of cheap and cheerful props to great comic effect. A critic’s duty is to keep watching but honestly, do close your eyes if asked: it really enhances the stage-magic. Thank goodness the venue is well-ventilated, even if only for the sake of the performers.
All three performers should be given full credit for the physical energy they bring to the stage. While the choreography is slapstick and sometimes quite lewd, they are all extremely funny. Perhaps more vocal lines could have been assigned to the Penny Slots, as both Hannah and Tiffany demonstrate that they really can sing, and though Xnthony’s voice is never totally convincing, it doesn’t matter at all in this context.
A show about a group of Eurovision wannabes is never going to be an erudite and highbrow evening. It doesn’t even matter whether one likes Eurovision. It’s about fun, laughter and outrage and that is exactly what Douze delivers by the bucketload.
Just be sure to give the pens back. Really, give them back.
Reviewer: Martin Veart