Richard Tyrone Jones takes us on one heck of an experience in this show of PowerPoint projections, audience participation, wordplay and song, amongst other pursuits. Throughout, his only spoken words (with a few exceptions late on) are “what”, “the”, “f*ck”, “is” and “this”, more often than not in that order.
Where does one start with ‘What The F*ck Is This?’ ? Tyrone Jones decides to start in as bizarre a fashion as he means to go on. From the moment the show starts (itself an uncertain point), your face forms a look o that will be fairly permanent for the next 60 minutes – a frowned, smiley look of confusion and intrigue, of bemused laughter – is this funny, is this right, is this… what the f*ck is this?!
You sit in awe at his energy and wonder what is coming next, what has anything got to do with anything else and the title question running through your mind; though it is asked, not in a rhetorical manner, but with a genuine desire for an answer. Even in a period of approximately a minute when the stage was empty - when Tyrone Jones had exited without an explanation as to why (how can you, when limited to that one line?) - we sat anxiously awaiting his return. Chuckles rang out sporadically at nothing but expectation. He had us.
And it is the audience whom this show is so much about and upon whose reactions it relies. As much as Tyrone Jones is the high-energy clown before us, it is those before him that he makes work both mentally and physically. He breaks all barriers between stage and audience, he interacts completely, offers gifts, games and quizzes; he tests your resolve, your patience, your opinion and morality on all manner of subjects, taking you through a gamut of emotions.
The end to the show, amidst the scattered debris of the performance, is as bizarrely comical, interactive and indefinable as it started, and is a brilliant illustration of how it is we as on-lookers, with our reactions and involvement, are the real, actual focus and importance here.
I left, discussing the show at length and even quoting the title line at things - a phrase I would seldom normally use – a clear sign of a successful experimental comical piece of theatre.
Go to see What The F*ck Is This? with an open mind and a willingness to get involved, but do – go to see it and go to be it.