(Originally published here)
It’s pretty hard to describe this one-man show without either sounding obtuse, ignorant or both. What “Vitamin” entails is fifty-five minutes of inexplicably wonderful comic theatre that gets you to laugh uproariously, pretty much continuously, for reasons that are either beyond my faculties or remain totally mystical.
Carlo Jacucci (Ecole Phillippe Gaulier) is our guide – or rather, our entertainer – for the evening, taking us through completely unrelated but consistently brilliant sketches that range from the bizarre – ‘The Saddest Song in the World’, played on the accordion accompanied by various vocal wailings – to the sublime: I have never seen a caterpillar impersonated so accurately and with such charm. We wander, apparently randomly, through a series of technically brilliant and madcap sequences that are ‘about life’, a claim on the programme that is both met and destroyed in this production.
Jacucci is a master clown, always deadpan and always in control of the increasingly hysterical audience, throwing out his opening gambit (a nod, and a suave ‘goood…’) at precise intervals, inviting them to continue reeling in their seats. He uses nonsense to confound us and truth to win us over, never taking himself too seriously, nor ever being fazed by anything the audience does. An example of his steady confidence: he summarised the first few minutes of the play to latecomers in physical form – twice – and still managed to keep us on his side.
There is no doubt that this is a clown act that you want to succeed. It doesn’t make sense, there is no narrative and there is no political message, but if you want to laugh and laugh this is the show for you. Jaccuci has struck gold with his secure, knowledgeable and charming style, and he will leave you laughing uncontrollably at what could only be described as pure physical comedy.