The chemistry between John van der Ruit, Aaron McIlroy and Ben Voss is absolutely tangible. No two skits are the same, and therefore no two characters are the same yet it is impossibly hard to believe that there are only ever three men on stage.
And what a stage. Lit with dim pink and purple lights, it is decorated with a large 3D cube, which is never explained and is perhaps just there to add to the sheer ridiculousness of the production – a physical manifestation of reasoning that is utterly logical yet utterly pointless.
In a solo opening scene John van der Ruit (of Spud fame) casually interacts with the audience and explains how the story line was designed to reflect a progression of insanity and madness through the ages.
To be very honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how the next skit arrived at its climax of madness, but it ended with the lights dimming on three men; one in a green bin, the other dressed as a modern-day gangster doing a cover of Eminem and the other, surprisingly, keeping it together.
And so it went on: a Monty Pythonesque series of skits and scenes, some being blow-air-through-mouth-funny, most being thigh-slapping, side-splittingly-funny. And all of them being quite uniquely insane.
‘Brian’s Brain’ was a skit which sought to explain the behaviour of a single man in a club, as he tries to play it cool and appeal to the ladies. Aaron McIlroy takes on the role of the left side of Brian’s brain and John van der Ruit the right, with Ben Voss as the ever awkward Brian. The result was a much needed deeper understanding as to why men can act like arseholes in clubs. (Thanks Brian)
More than once I found myself suffering from concentration misplacement. Very different from concentration slippage, it is more a tendency to find myself asking, “What the…? How did we get here?” as, for example, three spectacularly confident, half naked, flipper wearing men belt out a rendition of ‘Under the Sea’ somehow involving a number of well-executed political remarks.
Between skits involving cracking Indian accents, apartheid rhinos, and the huge pendulous breasts of 116 year old Sybil Solomons (“There’s nothing wrong with a little sway, darlings”), are short clips from Insane Dating, a website for singles who don’t quite fit in the ‘Socially Competent’ category. Projected onto the big screen at the back of the stage, the clips are a clever and funny way to ease into the next skit.
The success of The Rise of the Insanity League could be measured by the constant laughter of the audience, the volume of the applause or the length of the standing ovation received. Either way it was evident, on opening night, that the show was a great success and that although inappropriate at times, the humour was well received. And as I watched the three grown men prance about on stage singing YMCA, it occurred to me that perhaps embracing the madness and accepting the insanity is not such a bad thing after all.
Aisha-Bibi van der Ross
Rise of The Insanity League runs at Theatre on The Bay from 13 – 31 August. Details here.