I first came into contact with Hans Teeuwen last year when he played at Battersea Arts Centre following his Edinburgh run and in advance of a Dutch TV taping at the Leicester Square Theatre. At the time I was amused and slightly puzzled, but further research AFTER the show was rather enlightening: once you understand that he’s all about how much he can fuck with the audience, it all becomes significantly funnier, and this year’s triumphant return to BAC in advance of Edinburgh, brings about an almost entirely new show - at least to English speakers.
Opening with a twisted tribute to Michael Jackson, Teeuwen takes us through his usual targets: death, religion (the subject of a brilliant Shaggy Dog story), hand puppets, and lots of crude songs including one number, complete with audience participation, entitled “I Like Your Cunt.” One old bit to return, Dr. Hemmington, is better than ever, and comes complete with contortions.
Overall, Teeuwen’s new show is significantly tighter and more in tune with British tastes, and even his longer shaggy dog bits include more sub-jokes and move at a snappier pace, keeping the audience dancing about at the end of his line eagerly awaiting the punch-line’s knife at the end. This isn’t to say that Teeuwen is to everybody’s taste (we had two walk-outs), those who find him funny will love this new show while haters are unlikely to be converted here.
But consider me shifted from tentative to excited. Here’s hoping he works the UK for a long time to come.