Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Yozi – No Babies in the Sauna, Prague Fringe 2024 ★★★★★

This is a sketch show obsessed with rules: rules of comedy, social rules and sauna rules and it’s so utterly silly that it might just be genius.

Yozi is an infectiously funny performer as they alternate between their clown school dropout stories, an increasingly absurd series of sketches and one particularly memorable Airbnb anecdote at the very core of the show.

The theme of following and breaking rules is evident from the opening sketch where Yozi cycles through the different ways to stir different moods from the audience. They anthropomorphise this search for rules through their “clown mother” a hoarse french woman with the key to whimsy and comedy who takes Yozi under her wing to impart the wisdom of the clowns to them. The character is absurd, hunched over with a thick, ridiculously heavy french accent and a grandiose vision of what it means to be a clown, but she seems to hold a secret that Yozi is seeking: rules to navigating the world and the secrets to social interaction. This is a show that screams neurodivergent writing without ever quite dropping the name and for me, there is something brilliant in itself about watching a person hunched over, miming the tying of a balloon animal in the hoarsest and silliest french accent imaginable and going “Wait a minute. I think this is about autism.”

Before the show even starts, Yozi is on stage, making the occasional remark in a thick french accent. They begin to tell us of the time they met their “Clown Mother” with their own accent switching from Australian to French as they attempt to emulate their Clown Mother to become a true clown. Then the ridiculous ride begins as we are hit with increasingly absurd sketches and stories about their journey as a clown school dropout in a determined search to understand both comedic and social rules.

This search is not without a goal. Yozi has a particularly silly anecdote about an Airbnb mishap that they are desperate to convey to the audience. They want to recreate the effect this story had them but this is more challenging than it might appear on stage because the nature of the stage is that most people can predict that a twist is coming. How can one recreate a classic “you had to be there” anecdote for a sketch show? They try to solve this using the science of comedy, including trying to see if AI had unlocked to key to comedy (it absolutely has not but Yozi’s dramatic reading of the AI sketch “no babies in the sauna” with a heavy dose of disappointment is hilarious in its own right).

If the AI sketch part works so well, it is definitely not the quality of the writing but Yozi’s fantastic stage presence. Their timing is impeccable, and their energy is infectious, and one can’t help but follow them wherever they may take you in a metaphorical (or perhaps literal) congo line of laughter. There was not a dull moment on stage, just one brilliant absurdity after another, building to a satisfying and hilarious conclusion.

High energy, absurd and utterly genius. Yozi’s search for clown wisdom was indisputable success, and this show is a wonderfully silly hour. Fantastique!

Recommended drink: 3/5ths of a paper cup of oat milk followed by a gargle of pickle juice. Just the way Yozi likes it.

Catch Yozi – No Babies In The Sauna at their final Prague Fringe performance tonight at 21:00. Tickets are available through the Prague Fringe Box Office.

Moss Meunier

Moss is a bit of a globetrotter and struggles to stay in one country for long. They first fell in love with fringe theatre in Prague in 2014 and first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 as an improv comedian. They’re interested in a broad range of genres but are particularly excited by themes of neurodiversity and immigration. Their favourite drink is a foamy pint of Pilsner Urquell - it was their first beer and tastes of teenage freedom.

Festivals: EdFringe (2023), Prague Fringe (2024)
Pronouns: They/Them