It is perhaps rare in the arts to have a show premise with anything even resembling a unique concept, yet amongst all of its silliness, the basis of Maybe Mad Theatre Co’s Naturally Confused offers exactly this as animal expert host Boris (George Harris) desperately attempts to unload his infinite knowledge of flora, and more significantly fauna, on his audience and fans, only sans animals!! Cue the chaos promised by the Anywhere Festival show’s blurb and its wackiness which comes largely from assistant Blain’s (Bridget Ward) faux pars and tomfoolery.
The show stays true to its title too; there is much deliberate confusion in the initial frenzied dialogue between the presenters, full of malapropisms and repetition that does drag a little. Anywhere Festival shows, by means of the festival’s premise of presenting performances anywhere but a theatre, typically have minimal staging, so must rely heavily on their performances. Thankfully, in this regard, Naturally Confused is immediately engaging. Ward, in particular, is a very funny performer, making for a hysterical walrus, tusks and all (amongst other animals). She can make even standing alone on stage doing nothing hilarious, thanks to just the slightest of sidelooks and most well-timed of pauses.The show paces along nicely as the duo banter between themselves while presenting different animals and their associated facts to the audience, however, the momentum slams into a seemingly abrupt ending. Still, this is an Anywhere Festival show that is well worth a look. It’s light-hearted and funny from start to finish in that madcap kind of way. There is song and dance, and even a ukulele number… plus some random facts about nature… like a David Attenborough documentary, but not really.
Naturally Confused is playing until May 26.
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 9.