volkskrant

**** to make you laugh, admirable agile and well-conceived.

By Karin Veraart

“magic coffee” is a suprising tric with, you guessed it, coffee, and a newspaper. A trick which also works. In addition there are a lot of things that don’t work. But its rarely that you see such beautiful failures on stage.

Coco, Joey, Buster and Sugar are clowns. The old school clowns, made of the right stuff. They make their audience laugh, jumpy and sometimes even cry with all their shenanigans.

They got it rough, being a clown is a hard profession at times like this. But they won’t back down, because being a clown is simpely an existential trial, as they call it. They only have to do it a little more convenient and commercial. So Joey bums an unsuspecting spectator for 2 euros so he could do the coffee trick and the performance is in english, so they can reach a larger audience. They have even printed T-shirts with their name on it: Pointless International.

Fairly hilarious, this initiative, where Matthias de Koning and Jorn Heijdenrijk (Maatschappij Discordia) join forces with Vincent van den Berg and Czeslaw de Wijs from ‘t Barre Land. And very clever, al that vintage clowning, in which they also take the unruly practice of the artist's life on the grain. So lost collective 't Barre Land recent grant-aid and therefore, the possibility of a longer existence, and Maatschappij Discordia also had better times, economically. Both groups showed themselves not to stand on commercial ability and did not do many coproductions with co-appearances in exotic places, as now prevalent in the profession.

But that is about to change, as it says on the flyer, because it is in their blood; they were able to scratch some pennies here and there, and yes: Pointless International is ‘simply the best’.

That last sentence is not far from the truth, the clowns put down an unforgettable performance. With a lot of misunderstandings, stumbling, acrobatic recklessness, magic tricks, skirmishes on the razor’s edge, funny outfits and even a polar bear.

The composition is as strong as a house in wich the clowns continuously topple over: not only for laughter, but also admirably agile and well-conceived. With a few acts, it's a nice reunion (They larded their old performances regularly with 'slapstick acts'). Others refer to classic jokes and then there's a lot of new craziness, coupled with the necessary tragedy. Soon in your area.

Come and see!

parool

**** hilarious performance by a couple of expired clowns

By Joukje Akveld

Czeslaw de Wijs is extremely busy: with rolling out dusty carpets, curtain lifting, descending clusters of chairs on the scene from the ridge without any reasons. De Wijs is the fourth clown in Pointless International, a hilarious, utterly incoherent presentation on a set of expired clowns. it's the only thing he does: giving the mess that the others make some structure, and then counter it with some new mess.

These clowns are not the comic interlude for the serious act; they are the act. They don’t have much of a story. What they do have is an almost inexhaustible stock of half told-jokes, silly riddles and a trick with a snijbolletjesbroodplank.

That that last word is Dutch, is exceptional; The clowns are targeting an international breakthrough and speaking unsurpassed broken English. In moth-eaten jackets and battered hats they scurry across the stage. Two of them are from Maatschappij Discordia (Matthias de Koning and Jorn Heijdenrijk), the other two are from ‘t Barre Land (Vincent van den Berg and Czeslaw de Wijs), and the four of them are magnificent: tragic and laughable, provocative and admirable, chaotic and crazy. With the most modern theatrical means they string the classic clown acts together.

But how hilarious their stumbling aroud, their performance is also touching; the failure of the clowns reflects our own inability. That's the great thing about this clowning: it touches on something important, but at the same time it is inescapable humorous.

theaterkrant

**** A performance of clowns

By Loek Zonneveld, seen June 14, 2014

It's a hurricane, this sweet war of laughter. And: is that silly guy with that white face Gogo or Coco? Anyway, the first clown always wants something of the second, and the third clown finally delivers. More or less, that is what they do.

By the bold assertion between the demise of the Roman tragedy (third century), the emergence of the church drama (twelfth century), and the first printed texts of the Knightplay (fourteenth century) for centuries not an act of any significance has been made, there is always one theater figure in position: the fool or the jester or buffoon, in short: the clown. Because there is always played, especially by the misfits, the weirdo ‘townsfool’.

Shakespeare's style of writing did not change solely because he read Montaigne and Machiavelli, but mainly because he saw other kinds of clowns - around 1600 he figurly switched André van Duyn for Freek de Jonge. Molière begun in the French province of the clownish servant Sganarelle with musical tragi-comedies as The Burger Edelman in his Paris years. And Bertolt Brecht learned the basics from the theater of the Münchner bierkelderclown Karl Valentin, nicknamed the Beierse Chaplin.

Matthias de Koning begins in the fruitful autumn years of his rich performercareer to look like Karl Valentin. As Barre Land-actor Vincent van den Berg looks like a cross between the heightsscaredchampion Harry Langdon and the comedy-caper-sadist Mack Sennett. Jorn Heijdenrijk has a lot of Stan Laurel as white August in a Beckett-piece being lost and therefore getting better and tripping over more fataly. Together with their tireless with props carrying stage master: Czeslaw de Wijs, who magicly works the light, makes curtains rise and fall, who cleans egg-remainders by letting the floor dissapear completely, who pulls up carpets and walls and meanwhile oversees everything, with the four of them they are Pointless International, soon to be invited to perform in India, and for this reason entirely in broken English with a touch of ironore-German.

Not that it matters. Because their real language is that of stumbling, both the heights and the non-calculation of the consistently wrong rushing curtains, full of what the British with many understatement call ‘laughing matters’. On their best nights, the roof of their antics attic and the small hall wich is their home base (Frascati 3) set ablaze. And in the moments that we laugh so hard that we wade to our ankles in our own loin water, they take time to slow down. For 'Nothing comes of nothing' or 'Gegen Verführung' or any other intermediate clowns stray verses of literary fools. Or for a loosely summoned name 'magic coffee’. For two euros, tho. Because there must be bread on the bad development plank. Their repertoire is inexhaustible.

Come and see! And spread the word!

trouw

*** Discordia and ’t Barre Land

By Sara van der Kooi

Shelves, buckets, curtains, top hats, brooms, sticks, old theater lights, circus music, all kinds of chairs and a lot of clutter. And of course: Clowns. These are the main ingredients of ‘Pointless International’, the new performance by Maatschappij Discordia and 't Barre Land. The compagnies choose not to take the dramatic repertoire in the traditional sense (drama-texts) this time, but the classic clowns repertoire. Czeslaw de Wijs as clown Sugar cares about the (complex!) technique and the props, while Vincent van den Berg (aka Joey), King Matthias (Buster) and Jorn Heijdenrijk (Coco) let off steam in tragicomic and spectacular clowning.

In broken English they adress the audience, the clowns are after all worldwide famous outside Amsterdam - an ironic reference to the often-heard complaint that both groups only make interesting work for a select audience (read: loyal, well-informed fans). Besides their love for literary texts, the transparent and inquisitive playstyle always gives the performances a rough edge and unfinished character. That style is now applied to the clowncharacter and -acts. But rest assured: no overly complicated intellectual hassle or amateurish clowning. Pointless International is largely real clownstheatre, full of virtuoso stunts and hilarious jokes with, admittedly, the occasional literary quotation. But mainly a lot of laughter like a fight with threaded baguettes, an orchestra of cardboard and rope, riddles and much clownish wrangling and bickering.

Jorn Heijdenrijk proves his virtuoso body control in a stunningly mimed tightrope-dancescene, including climbing a ladder, balancing with his umbrella. Vincent van den Berg takes it a bit quieter (he falls down less), but does a great caper in which he climbs a thin rope to a ledge, sits on a stool, hangs on the railing and swings on a stick while comming back down. Also his magic tricks are hilarious: you do not expect them to succeed, but strangely enough they sometimes do anyway.

Matthias de Koning is the affable grump who babbles through everything. Failure is as always with these makers, an essential aspect: it is about the vulnerability of the attempt: try and (re)search. In this respect, this performance is no different then what we already know of them, only the shape and the style is refreshing. Some scenes take too long or miss a point, but on the whole Pointless International is a surprising and dangerous performance for laughter.

dagblad van het noorden

**** Successful series of failures.

By Eric Nederkoorn

Discordia (goddess of discord) and 't Barre Land (the Waste Land - name says it all) are groups with nice thwart theater. However, they themselves have been ugly thwarted. Subsidy suddenly dropped, indeed. Both passionate institutions, both in need - then you better work together.

So, this happens regularly. Similarly in Pointless International, a performance which cannot be compared to any other. That does not make it automatically a good performance. And that's the beauty of Discordia and 't Barre Land. They do not do automatism. The Grand Theatre is open today and tomorrow to experience how chaos, if well organized, can turn out beautifully.

Pointless International brings – in an ever changing but always crazy and rickety-makeshift-stage setting – three clowntypes on stage. Pointless, meaning 'meaningless', and indeed, nothing goes as planed. Any attempt to juggle, be funny, play music, do acrobatics or even to just stand straight up – wobbly clown Coco (Jorn Heijdenrijk) slapsticks himself over every conceivable obstacle against the ground – is doomed to failure.

Also the English, the main language of the piece, goes extremely far, in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary, while Matthias de Koning (Buster), as a kind of Tourette’s patient, releases loud screams, there where he could have just asked a question. Long story short: there is much to laugh about for the audience. Especially since, in this serie of scenes pasted-together, continuously different kind of props bugger down under loud noises from the deplorable rigging, thanks to stage setting (dis-)controller Czeslaw de Wijs. The actors must therefore know exactly where they should (not) be. Timing!

Thus, it is not all without danger. When Vincent van den Berg (Joey) has climbed up the wall a few feet, and wants to throw himself down (ouch!), there are some sticks below him. He asks Buster – who was demonstrating a brilliant bun-slicer – suddenly in his mother language, if those sticks could be removed, rather quickly. (otherwise he could break something). Was that intendend, this Dutch?

In short, what we experience is a lot of human despair and failure. Elaborated a bit too far, I must say. This production deserves more public than those lousy forty Thursday. A catchy performance, after all, works especially catchy when there are people to be caught. Come on! As always with Discordia, Matthias de Koning serves the public after the last failure a glass of wine. And there are T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale labeled: Pointless International. For really, the pointlessness is not confined to the theater. It is widely spread.

Pointless International Théâtre Garonne

De l'utilité de l'inutilité | The utility of futility

By Gladys Vantrepotte

A man sleeps , only a fall could wake up. Three others, approximate suit, nonchalantly wandering amidst a complete mess of planks , ropes and heavy curtains rolled , buckets and various accessories . Bric -a-brac component to view the inner workings of the show is about to begin, without us knowing what it could serve well . And we are reassured : you will not know much more in the end.

Failure foolproof

"Somebody wanted to buy a cup of coffee ? One euro ! "Launches a character sleeved shirt and jacket, too , however, failed to be credible. Very helpful that said, it breaks the fourth wall before it has only been able to settle. The tone is set : the public part of the show, the address is direct, it is for him are the four fellows .

Some kind of ringmaster slightly unsteadily but still polite, wearing a black hat and early twentieth of a Dutch accent, explains more or less clumsily that the show will take place in English and French so that it becomes celebrated. "NO DUTCH! "Is he exclaims in a burst of voices makes this slightly shy bipolar character. While behind him his cronies install a floor in a relatively neat, it attempts to start ... anything that has to start. Probably he himself in the interest of what he must have or he has forgotten how to do his "tricks"? A laborious start announcing the two-hour show that will follow. Changing costumes at their option, Coco and Joey reveal a face increasingly grimed, returning to the skin of their ancestors clowns and taking some classics, including the comic gesture and repetition, mime, or numbers absurd and hustlers like the flea trainer. Devious and somewhat battered tributes as not entirely successful.

Each turn, these three modern clowns will implement all they can to make their audience laugh, being here for. They will be busy, run and install visual gags, try to state meta-jokes, undertake hazardous manipulations, will apply to all do well to fail brilliantly, in a kind of apotheosis of "all for it ...! ". And for this, the fourth thief, without a word, range and cleans their traces progressively, and operates at times of sunrises and curtain baissers, for some unknown reason. Like children excited to show their audience their new finds, they mumble and exclaim to the audience, sometimes embarrassed sometimes very proud of their prowess poor, sometimes both at the same time. Instigators of a farce that does not exist, the same number participating or competing, they intersect the floor, contradict, each other are missing, is hampering the road to success that we should finally especially not reach.

Apology unnecessary

"But why?" Sterile Question that it is better not to ask quickly, the risk of brush annoyance: Why are they doing this? Why one he uses this item? Why the other he tries to do this? Why is it wrong again and again, why did he not come? And why is useless if it not be sufficient to himself? No other objective seems indeed guide the four accomplices than lead nowhere. The gag one falls into the water, the next train to follow the course of her number, and we end up drifting on a chess variations tide. Yet the audience laughed. He laughed non-gag and failure staged. He sometimes laughed at first instance, these are the eternal gags that fall, but more often in the second degree, the gap between intentions and resources used on the one hand and the end result on the other. It is the art of "cheap" and disappointment that is controlled by the art of nonsense: all that is presented has no other purpose than to be useless.

The uselessness as a necessity. As Forgotten need, neglected, atrophied in societies where productivity, business time and all, pilloried, effectiveness and usefulness are masters of ceremony. A ceremony whose fatal gradually disappears as the characters on stage that began in black costume griment and get dirty, is ridiculed by their perseverance in the art of accomplishing nothing. Who clown or the businessman he is the most useless, after all? Art does he not one of the few areas where we can still preach the futility, the sense that one thing a person can exist for itself, and not in order to use another? One can experience a certain pleasure in useless and finally embrace the irrational, but allowing public support, in addition to the absurdity of the representation, it is certainly the acting, acrobats or jugglers when it's their takes, which by their facial expressions and their grimaces, their bewildered air, innocent or outraged, controlled their mumblings and trips, using their accent, their false insecurities and their tantrums make the touching and hilarious performance, and offer to do a chess endorsed bidding so that they become quite successful. So we can say that they sometimes fail to fail, since they end up making their audience laugh in spite of everything! All this really does not make sense, and it's still the most sensible conclusion that we can do.