Well, here we are again. Another fringe, and another Zach Zucker show that is a nightmare to try and review. Truly, I’ve described Zucker as one of the most (intentionally) marmite performers, and that hasn’t changed here.
Perhaps trying (key word) to describe the comedy first, rather than the show will be easier? An École Philppe Gaulier graduate, Zucker is a master of clown, and is spectacularly physical in his performance, using it to really enthral an audience. He’s also, in recent years, moved into stand-up, primarily through alter-ego Jack Tucker, an absolute dog-shit, over-the-top failure of a stand-up who will either torture or delight an audience in equal measures – depending on their individual comedic sensabilities.
Spectacular Industry Showcase is Zucker once again pushing personal boundaries by building on everything that came before. The show features elements of clowning that made Zach and Viggo so successful, with aspects of Jack Tucker coming through too – namely the zany ‘jokes’ and director controlled soundboard. But there’s also a more personal, almost vulnerable aspect which is new territory for Zucker. The show starts with a musical number, and there’s a poetry reading – admittedly with an awful British accent while in (or out?) of character. I’m also told there was a song Zucker had penned for the end of the show, but on the night it had to be cut for time. This is all to say that Zucker continues to grow as a performer, trying to break free of the expected, and bring new dimensions to his sets.
However, as I said at the top, Zucker is marmite, and there is still this sadomasochist streak to Zack that thrives on the excruciatingly awkward. Likely a result of 2-for-1 Tuesday, there was a clear split between those who loved what they were watching, and those who were eyeing up the exit. Zucker has an usually high threshold for prolonging and exacerbating that tension, willing to stand in silence for what feels like long agonising minutes while audiences wonder whether to indulge him.
It is never easy to review Zach’s work, as finding the words for the chaotic energy that is so clearly aimed at a certain type of audience member – and enhanced by the discomfort of all others – is challenging. It’s probably something that you’ll have to see for yourself, and regardless of whether you like it, Zach will love performing it.
For tickets and more information, visit edfringe.com