BWW Review: FINGERPORI at Helsinki City Theatre
Fingerpori. Creator Pertti Jarla.
Director Pertti Sveholm, On Stage Jari Pehkonen, Helena Haaranen, Pekka Huotari, Juha Jokela, Sanna Saarijärvi, Antti Timonen, Leenamari Unho
Stage Design Mika Haaranen, Video Design Mika Haaranen and Jaakko Sirainen, Costume Design Elina Vättö, Makeup and Hair Design Aino Hyttinen.
How would I explain Fingerpori to a non-Finnish person... Fingerpori is a popular and well-liked comic strip that appears in a daily magazine. It follows the life of Heimo (Jari Pehkonen) and his friends and colleagues in Fingerpori-city. The comic plays around mainly with puns, word plays, not forgetting about topical comedy. The creator is Pertti Jarla and the stage version has gotten its premiere in February 2019. I saw it on 12th of November.
The set design by Mika Haaranen is neat and tidy: the white walls with black lines and borders remind of comic strips. Indeed, even most of the props and costumes have black lines that give them an essence of a drawn element.
The theme tune and sound design by Lauri Koivisto is catchy and gets us into the mood of the funky performance. Overall I want to thank him for bringing sound effects to the show, for example how the mother-in-law (Sanna Saarijärvi) fell at the backstage and clattering is heard from a speaker that is hidden somewhere there. At least so I suppose. Very good!
My favorite scene was the dating app -one. It evoked curiosity so that it was interesting to watch: what kind of character comes up next?
In the beginning there is quite too long video intro, designed by Jaakko Sirainen, which introduces us to the original comics. In itself it is a nice add, but there was something not so rhythmical about it; I kept wondering why only Heimo, the main character was introduced through the video so that his name came in in big letters and then he appeared on stage from the left-hand side and not from the middle of the stage? Other characters could have been introduced in the same kind of way too but not with so long video intro.
I loved it that Heimo spoke his thoughts straight to the audience. In the beginning when he tried to lie to his wife Irma (Helena Haaranen) and explained about it to the audience it worked well and was very good. Unfortunately, towards the end the sharpness of the moments decreased somewhat.
What comes to the physical comedy, Satan (Antti Timonen) had great movement. Of course Heimo himself had some neat expressions as well, especially when he pondered things and moved his eyes from side to side. The moment where at the Esperi Care an elderly man kicks around in his bed and dies was in whole one of the best moments in terms of comedic rhythm. Well done!
All in all Fingerpori does its job and brings iconic jokes from the iconic comic on stage. Living, breathing people bringing those jokes alive is the key in this.
I just have only one question... When Mikko Alatalo was commanded to "go to hell", why didn't he go through the hatch that Satan came from?
Article: Rosanna Liuski
Photos: Miika Storm