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Updates from the 2011 Artistic DirectorElisabeth EastherSchools Review CompetitionReviews
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NZ Herald Review: Gaff Aff

By - 17 Mar 2011
"Gaff Aff is youthful urban Europe at its most creative, and its loud beats and cardboard, computer-game aesthetic will appeal mightily to a younger nightclub crowd as well as to typical festival patrons."

By Janet McAllister
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"The Swiss duo of choreographer/performer Martin Zimmermann and scratch DJ/composer Dimitri de Perrot offers virtuoso hipster clowning to a polyrhythmic soundtrack. Stylistically, the influence of Marcel Marceau meets that of DJ Shadow, while the subject is in the realm of Bret Easton Ellis: the banality of the capitalist dream, on a fast train to nowhere.

Rubber-bodied Zimmermann plays a middle-class everyman; he's the suit, he carries the suit's accessories - the briefcase, the cellphone, the A4 sheets. These are symbols we know very well - important in a wordless show.

De Perrot, on the side of the revolving stage, is Zimmermann's technically skilled puppeteer, controlling him not with strings but with sound. As he repeatedly scratches his records, Zimmermann similarly has to rewind and replay his actions. As de Perrot speeds it up, Zimmermann acquires a humorous chipmunk blether voice.

The tracks incorporate thudding oonst oonst, static and feedback, commuter trains and planes, whirring wings, mouth organ and the squeak of Zimmermann's shoes.

Specific pinpoint sound - unusual for live theatre - is used to create the impression that cellphones are ringing in the auditorium. Cleverly, the sounds and Ursula Degen's lights increase the show's intensity without Zimmermann always increasing in pace. Car headlights beam out to the audience like
monster eyes.

But it's not all high-tech and cool electronics; much of the show's appeal comes from its inventiveness with cardboard. Zimmerman plays with the cardboard city set, rearranges it, rebuilds it, revealing new images, even eats it.

The pointed climax involves an army of cardboard suits with no heads. Have they been cut off? Zimmermann's evil monkey laugh suggests otherwise: they are zombie bankers, neither alive nor dead.

The quiet coda isn't quite so punchy, but it's still full of commentary. Unlike its bankers, this is comic entertainment with its head screwed on."


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