Belgian brothers prove the old jokes still work the best

By Paul Simei-Barton

The Ronaldo brothers hilariously portray a boss and worker in the restaurant from hell.
The Ronaldo brothers hilariously portray a boss and worker in the restaurant from hell.

In an old fashioned Big Top, a charming pair of Belgian brothers dish up an instructive demonstration on how not to cook a pizza - along with a riotously funny and delightfully intimate feast of clowning.

The story follows the rivalry between a boss/worker combo who run a restaurant from hell not unlike Basil and Manuel in the TV comedy Fawlty Towers.

The bizarre blend of fawning servility and malicious antipathy harks back to the ancient origins of Italian commedia traditions where familiar personality types are wildly exaggerated.

Danny Ronaldo, playing the servant, gives a virtuoso display of clowning with a brilliantly expressive vocabulary of gesture and gibberish along with an impressive range of juggling skills.

David Ronaldo, as the arrogantly imperious master, provides a straight-man foil to his manic underling and there is a rich seam of comedy in the never-ending rivalry of two characters who are deeply dependent on each other.

The show rises to hilarious crescendo as a rapidly expanding forest of plates spinning on the tips of flexible rods has the audience on the edge of their seats anticipating the "thrill" of seeing fine crockery smash into pieces.

There's a street vendor's wagon packed with a remarkable array of self-playing instruments and the show concludes with a romantic serenade for a couple drawn from the audience.

La Cucina dell'Arte

Where and when: Circus Ronaldo Big Top, Aotea Square to March 20.

- NZ Herald

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