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Slapstick, Assembly George Square Theatre – Review

Pros: Charming, hilarious clowns, who also happen to be virtuoso musicians.

Cons: The section with the projection didn’t work well, and made the energy drop.

Pros: Charming, hilarious clowns, who also happen to be virtuoso musicians. Cons: The section with the projection didn’t work well, and made the energy drop. The children in the audience are part of what makes a clown show, and this performance featured the rambunctious laughter of a little boy somewhere at the back, whose timing was perfect and brought the house down twice. The five clowns of Netherlands-based Wëreldbänd reacted with ready charm; in fact, the audience was part of the show from start to finish. In between skits a motormouthed fairground emcee picked out audience members to play…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

A lovely piece of escapist fun, full of music and joyous belly laugh moments

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The children in the audience are part of what makes a clown show, and this performance featured the rambunctious laughter of a little boy somewhere at the back, whose timing was perfect and brought the house down twice. The five clowns of Netherlands-based Wëreldbänd reacted with ready charm; in fact, the audience was part of the show from start to finish. In between skits a motormouthed fairground emcee picked out audience members to play games such as knocking down the cups, fishing for a prize with an enormous fishing rod, and shooting a (wooden) gun at the cymbals. These moments of light-hearted, anarchic fun served to vary the pace and keep things moving nicely.

The sketches and musical numbers were hilarious, and showcased Wëreldbänd’s USP; between them they’ve mastered over 200 musical instruments. The stage was covered with them, from tiny squeeze boxes to a self-playing piano. Many had been cleverly adapted, and there were great surprise moments when trombones became flutes, and classical guitars were flipped over to reveal mandolins. Wëreldbänd’s act is in the Music Hall/Vaudeville tradition, so there was lots of variety, with a thread of innocent bizarre silliness running through everything. The barbershop quartet were inspired, doing acapella covers of contemporary pop hits, in German, and with a straight face. It reminded me of the song round on Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue; sheer silliness which makes your sides ache with laughter.

There were touching moments too. A doddery old clown who forgot the words to (what else?) Unforgettable was helped by his friends and there was a marvellous slapstick finale. This was fractionally spoilt by the unexpected and unnecessary incorporation of a projection, but as the pillows flew all was forgiven. With their impressive range of skills and eccentric imaginations, Wëreldbänd’s magical musical world is a place to lose yourself for an hour and leave with your heart lightened.

Conceived, directed, and performed by: Wëreldbänd. R. Krauss, W. van Baarsen, R. Bosman, S. van Delft, J. Bittman.
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wereldband-slapstick
Booking Until: 27th August 2017

About Alexandra Gray

Alexandra Gray
Alexandra’s love of physical theatre first became clear at five years old when she veered off script in the school nativity play. At the entrance of the Angel Gabriel, she cartwheeled across the stage crying ‘Yippee, an angel of the lord!’ and the Virgin Mary burst into tears. Following this auspicious start, she went on to study dance and theatre and is currently doing her Masters in English Literature. When not in the library or at the theatre, she can be found singing jazz professionally, teaching yoga, and growing broad beans.