Review: Why Even Bother

Joakim Gunby
C Royale – until August 27th
4 Stars (4 / 5)

With over 200 sound and lighting cues packed into this hourlong, self-devised show, Joakim Gunby is already setting himself up for failure. But fail he does NOT. Standing alone onstage and responding to the onslaught of voices flung at him in all directions––all pre-recorded and performed by him as well by the way––Gunby brings the audience through the daily misadventures of a man fresh out of university, navigating a city full of quirks.

Gunby is an affable comedian who performs generously and humbly, a rare quality in any solo show. He is funny yet intelligently self-aware of the way his voice recordings stereotypically represent various people, which adds a further dimension to the comedy delivered. A character actually says in the thickest German accent, “und now I am going to trink some bier because I am a stereotype. Auf wiedersehen. Gut bye!” To add on to everything else, the character’s inner monologue is also played out, thus creating a multi-faceted world that the audience is brought into.

While it is easy for anyone with that level of creativity to go overboard, Gunby still manages to simply and effectively capture the universal experience of anyone who is caught in the vicious cycle of trying yet failing, trying again yet failing again, and still trying once more… but not quite succeeding. Indeed, why even bother?