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Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Zach & Viggo + Thumpasaurus: Where Does The Love Go? @ Underbelly

This comedy/music show, described as an “absurdist, avant-garde, funk opera”, marks a collaboration between Norwegian-American comedy duo Zach & Viggo and funk-punk band Thumpasaurus. It kicks off with a Star Wars-style text crawl on a background projecting screen explaining an outline of the plot which goes something like this: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos wins a space war with Elon Musk, enabling him to complete his domination of the galaxy by creating the latest model in the Alexa range: Alexo - a humanlike robot who can do anything you want. Since people will never have to go out and mingle with others, it will eradicate all love from humankind.

During the course of the story, however, Alexo (Zach Zucker) comes to believe that his Pinocchio reference boffin creator Geppetto (Viggo Venn) is his father. Moreover, there are a few glitches remaining in his software which cause him to be less cooperative than he should be. This, of course, pits him in direct conflict with the evil Jeff Bezos (Jonny Woolley).

Let’s face it, Amazon is a pretty big target nowadays, what with them being accused of everything from dodging taxes, to killing high street shopping, to exploiting their own workforce with unfair terms and conditions. Where Does The Love Go? is obviously a pretty silly and exaggerated satire of a corporation which is becoming something of a modern-day monster, but, nonetheless, has a certain crowd-pleasing vindicatory quality about it. Indeed, the word “crowd-pleaser” sums this whole show up; it’s an insubstantial but undeniably entertaining slice of buffoonery.

There are a few good gags here, such as an early sketch where Alexo hilariously fails to grasp the fundamentals of being told both his own name and that of his creator, and a nicely blocked visual gag involving an encounter with an intangible ghost. At other times, however, there is a bit too much reliance on repetitive cheap chuckles; I lost count of how many times Alexo’s codpiece crotch was grabbed. Thumpasaurus provide a decent Sparks-style main theme song which goes something like “Where is the love, where did the good love go?”. For the most part, however, their contribution is limited to background music, incidental cues and the occasional sound effect. Jonny Woolley makes for a hilariously gravelly-voiced Bezos (even if he looks nothing like the real person). The back projections of robots and the like also add a touch of style to the production.

In a nutshell, it’s good fun but feels like a lot of bouncy energy stretching out a smallish amount of great material to the obligatory hour. That said, there was plenty of audience enthusiasm last night and it’s definitely worth checking out during its mid-evening Underbelly slot, just when the beer intake is mounting.

Watch a video:

N.B. These video clips don’t depict material from the show Where Does The Love Go? but rather give a taster for the two acts involved:

Rating: ☆☆☆

Tickets are available from the following link:

Edinburgh Fringe 2018 logo

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