Ontroerend Goed are no strangers to Edinburgh, having brought a string of productions that have provoked, shocked, or just allowed their audience to feel something more than being lifeless spectators to the Fringe. If their last show Audience wanted audiences to stand up against them, their latest offering in All That Is Wrong is a much subtler affair. Scrawled across chalkboards on the floor, performers Koba Ryckewaert and Zach Hatch list the seemingly endless troubles with the world. Starting from ‘I’ and forming a family tree of words and phrases, the chalky word-map spills into the capitalist destruction that has engulfed the world. Words spill across the floor with lines connecting each other in patterns that blur your eyes and leave you feeling hopeless.
Such disappointment and helplessness is shown in Ryckewaert as she stares into the mass of words beneath her, that you can’t help but wonder: ‘and so what’? You’ve laid out all these words, all these associations to the evil in corporate companies, religion and politics – how do you expect us to respond? Perhaps this is the point – seeing such a volume of words representing quite literally all the wrong in the world shows that there is no answer or response good enough but to spectate mindlessly.
Interlaced between Ryckewaert’s controlled scribblings her co-performer Hatch weaves a continuous cycle of interviews, news footage and speeches collected from the internet. These seemingly collide with the words before the audience and at times offer a chilling realisation that there really is an unkind society or man at work. Hearing of an investment trader praying each night for a market crash so that he can reap the rewards is undeniably shocking. Other sounds seem to blend more as a background noise rather than offering insightful provocation, but the affect is foreboding. All That Is Wrong is a controlled and measured piece, seeming to lack some of the other ignited chaos that I’ve come to know from Ontroerend Goed’s work, but this stillness – a motionless statue towards the work – makes for an even more fitting tone.
All That Is Wrong is a timely piece that ebbs away at you hours after seeing it. It doesn’t offer a provocative stance on the world but it commentates in a subdued manner. It offers nothing, but that is very much the point. Measured, controlled and helpless, Ontroerend Goed succeed in producing something that gets beneath your skin and eats away at your untapped despair towards the world. Chilling, if controlled, theatre.
**** – 4/5 Stars
All That Is Wrong is playing at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 12 August. For more information and tickets, see the Traverse Theatre website.