EdFringe 2018 Review: De Fuut

De Fuut

Perhaps one of the most challenging pieces to play this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is Belgian playwright Bastiaan Vanderiessche’s De Fuut. The playwright and performer uses his show at Edinburgh’s Summerhall to be truly candid about his feelings towards two young girls when he was working as Sea Scout leader six years prior in Ghent.

De Fuut presents an uneasy subject to hear discussed and Vanderiessche’s performance is undoubtedly laced with an uncomfortable moral ambiguity here. Using Nabokov’s Lolita as a reference point throughout, the performer attempts to explore his feelings of being engrossed and consumed by his interest in these two girls. The lines between reality and fiction blur (something that isn’t cleared up by the press release) as De Fuut’s scattered narrative dips into sporadic anecdote about Vanderiessche’s time in Summer camps, his own experiences at camp in his youth, and examples of abuse that he witnessed.

This narrative is erratically structured, jumping between past, present and Vanderiessche’s fantasies of the future. It’s unclear if we are watching a man baring his soul/passions or a performer attempting to depict a man being candid about such morally unpleasant desires. There are also numerous gaps that need to be filled by audience members – most notably the aforementioned question, but why does Vanderiessche’s wear a kimono? A minor, but confusing detail nonetheless.

Yet Vanderiessche is engrossing in his unpredictable energy. At times uncomfortably bizarre as the performer addresses audience members as children and offers attempts at interactivity (dancing etc.), which are curiously pitched. He speaks with passion and such commitment on his subject matter – but this can lead to further alienation. As he recounts these uncomfortable experiences at Summer camps, Vanderiessche talks as if these are commonalities and to the majority of audience members, these are not.

Despite being an engaging presence himself, the themes that Vanderiessche addresses perhaps need a more focussed revision and realisation than this hour-long somewhat erratic piece. De Fuut is an uncomfortable watch that creates more questions as opposed to solving them.
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