If you Google the name Rimmelzwaan, you get the supposed meaning of “Helpful, Knowledgeul, Shy” from a website called NamesLook. Now, I don’t go out of my way to be cynical, but I’m fairly sure that Knowledgeul isn’t a word and that Googling this has taught me nothing. When it comes to Rimmelzwaan, the only word you need is Luke.
“I was born in Hobart but moved up to Queensland when I was 1, so I really think of Brisbane as home. I do like living here; there is a lot of great food and culture if you are willing to look for it. There feels like there has been a big change in Brisbane in the last 15 years, but there is still some hangover from the Joh years where still don’t want to point out the good things and still just say Brisbane is ‘boring’.”
Much like his mysterious surname, Luke Rimmelzwaan is one of a kind. The first time I saw him perform at The Powerhouse in Brisbane, he stole the show. His comic awareness of himself was incredible, effortlessly switching between booming authoritarian figure to hormonal teenager with such incredible comic acting ability that you fully bought into the charactateur he was emulating. It showed a sharp mind that could adapt to pretty much anything thrown at him with the comedic sensibility to turn it into something joyful. It’s no wonder he’s in demand internationally as a performer and a teacher.
“I performed in a festival in Manila a few years ago and I was lucky enough to go back recently and do some new shows. I had met some groups from Taichung there and some from Taipei at a festival in Canberra and they were interested in having me do some teaching. I love teaching, travelling and performing, so getting to do all in one trip is pretty great.”
As such, it’s no surprise that he’s such a respected figure in the Brisbane comedy scene, recently having directed the sell-out run of Potter Unplotted as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Most notably, it’s his work in the impro scene that he’s best known for, an area he’s had more than enough experience with.
“Accounting for breaks about 15 years. I did a theatre degree and used to do all sorts of things like directing opera, doing circus shows, Shakespeare etc. But impro is the thing that seems to have stuck over time.”
I asked him if there were any particular productions he’s been involved with over the years that he’s particularly enjoyed.
“Tales from the Old Country is a show I have always loved doing. It is just a two-hander with my good friend Amy Currie where we play the audiences grandparents. We have done a few seasons of it including some shows overseas, and it is has a lot of audience interaction. It is a very silly show but it has a heart of gold, and the audience always leave trying to get hugs from the grandparents.”
It always helps to get your head around someone else’s sense of humour by finding out what sorts of things they find funny.
“I’ve been rewatching The Thick of It lately and I still find it hilarious. It’s grounded in reality and the comedy comes from the characters foibles, rather than just having odd juxtapositions or parodying a certain style. Then you have Malcolm Tucker, who is written with such a command of language he rules the party with the mere threat that he might talk to you. When he turns up its like Omar Little is coming. I would hate to have to deal with any of the characters in the show, but I can’t stop watching.”
Sure he’s a funny guy with a sharp mind, but I wanted to know something about Luke that no-one else knew. He was only too happy to indulge.
With Comedy Commentary Cinema working best when there’s a good chemistry between the performers, I asked Luke if he prefers working with others, or alone.
“I generally prefer working with others. I like the immediacy of feedback you can get with that.”
Naturally at this point I wanted to know that if Luke had the ability to travel back into the past, when he would travel to and what he would do?
“I would travel back 10 years and give myself the history of the stock market. Because I steal all my ideas from 80’s movie franchises about time travel.”
Speaking of films, I asked Luke if he was much of a film buff.
“I love movies. At my peak, I would see over 100 every year at the cinema, but it is not quite as many now. I love talking about movies, and I used to make short movies as well. Probably my most controversial opinion is that Tarantino movies are largely terrible.”
With cinema faux-pas being the core of what CCC is about, I asked Luke what the worst thing he’s ever done in a cinema is?
“I am a very polite cinema goer, no talking, phone turned off, the whole business. Probably the worst thing I have done is sneak in lollies.”