Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Glorious Belgique tour de farce from the laconic watercolour meister that is Brecht Evens. I really did find it difficult to believe he was going to be able to top his riotous celebration of friendship and fun that is THE WRONG PLACE, but he's managed it hands down here by simply upping the ante on the sheer implausibility of plot and the various neuroses of the characters involved!
The moderately successful (i.e. not very) Flemish artist and devoted urbanite Peterson is offered the opportunity to be the special guest at the Beerpoele biennial art festival, Beerpoele being a charming location way, way out in the countryside. When he gets there, though, he finds much to his chagrin that the festival is little more than a glorified village fete.
However, things haven't exactly been going well for Peterson recently back in the big city, so when the villagers, led by the ultra-enthusiastic curator Kristof, hoist him straight up on their collective pedestal like a true colossus of the art world, his ego inevitably responds and he begins to throw himself into the festival with increasingly reckless abandon, advising all the locals on their various individual projects, before deciding what they really need is a grand collaboration, to really celebrate the spirit of the festival and bring them all together artistically.
Peterson's subsequent choice of a huge thirty-foot-high garden gnome constructed from papier mâché gives you just a little flavour of Brecht's mischievous and resolutely off the wall humour which tickles and titillates throughout. Marshalling his troops in the little time they have is going to be no easy task for Peterson though, and it's going to go right down to the wire if they're going to get their piece ready in time for the opening of the festival.
As the deadline approaches and the pressure on him increases, Peterson's motivational techniques become increasingly less orthodox, as indeed does the behaviour of the participants, some of whom weren't exactly the most coherent souls to begin with. Fortunately for Peterson though, he's able to seek solace in the arms of the infatuated teenage Cleo. Well he'd like to, but given as the surreal and farcical factors are gradually being ramped up to Vaudevillian proportions by this point, clearly something, well let's face it everything, is probably, err well, certain, to go wrong...
I should add, for those of you already intrigued by the above but who are not familiar with Brecht's amazing watercolours, just take a look at the interior art I have posted. There really is nothing else quite like it stylistically in comics, that springs to my mind at least. Were Picasso actually to have produced some comics, which actually existed other than in the HICKSVILLE library of course, he would have been hard pushed to produce something as impressive as Brecht. Now there's a bold statement to finish a review with...