Hippo World Guest Book
The online world can be pretty ludicrous, but translating it to the stage is, for now, new and unusual
The internet: a cruel, unforgiving place, where even earnest hippopotamus fans can’t talk amongst themselves without being drawn into an incomprehensible flame war. In this unorthodox piece of verbatim theatre, Chris Goode performs more than 150 posts from a hippopotamus fan-site. Genuine interest in hippos falls victim to the abusive, the poignant and the absurd, while Goode’s delivery remains true to the original posters’ spelling and punctuation.
Sure, just lifting frantic, urgent text from a clunky AOL website requires no special talent. But Goode has thoughtfully whittled it down to a collection of edited highlights, recited with perfect comic timing. Sometimes, reading the posts from a music stand, he resembles a mourning relative reading a eulogy at a funeral; sometimes he’s a naïve schoolboy, or an obnoxious teenager, or someone who only speaks in consonants. And as the drama unfolds, the audience witnesses the internet being slowly, finally, taken over by casino spam, drowned out by an epic soundtrack. The online world can be pretty ludicrous, but translating it to the stage is, for now, new and unusual, a rare chance for us to laugh at the idiocy we’d otherwise just scroll past.