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Buskers Fest Review: Butt Kapinski

Image: Mihaela Bodlovic

Private eye Butt Kapinski works alone, but he also doesn’t work alone. As the first night audience for his film-noir-style tale at the World Buskers Festival, we’ll be filling a number of roles; soundtrack provision, foley artists, scenery, cops, murder victims, witnesses, and the entire red light district, complete with two well-to-do, buttoned-down looking and mature Canterbury gentlemen that Butt manages to cajole into playing lustful twin brunette lesbian prostitutes. It’s that sort of a show.

The deadly-serious, amusingly-speech-impedimented Butt’s all on his lonesome – he even has to carry his own street lamp for appropriately moody noir lighting around with him. So as the audience, seated roughly in the round in the Buskers Boutique Theatre at Christ’s College, we have to flesh out the seedy world of his improvised story. Fortunately, he gives us a rundown on the classic noir tropes before we get into in it, cluing us in on what every good film noir needs; light and shadow, seedy characters, a twist ending. And then we’re into it, with Butt moving around the room which has become his night-time city, deputising nearby audience members as secondary characters, extras or scenery as need be.

If this is sounding like your very own audience participation nightmare, relax. This is not Butt’s first rodeo, and he has a way of putting his fellow cast mates at ease. There’s a very definite sense that we’re all developing this story together, and even shrinking violet types can’t help but get into the swing of things. As the audience we make key decisions on Butt’s case – whether to go to the rich part of town or the poor part of town, whether it was all a lie or all a dream – and at the end of the show you’re left wanting to come back again to see how things might unfold on another night, and with different co-stars for Butt. It’s the one-night-only joy of improv.

With a hilarious comedy performance and some serious crowd skills from Butt himself at its heart, it’s a unique show concept that should be experienced by anyone that likes improv, film noir, or just laughing really hard … and who would have seen that twist ending coming?

Butt Kapinski
Buskers Boutique Theatre at Christ’s College
Nightly at 8pm until Sat Jan 27

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