Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Babbling Comedy is just that – four men employ burbling and a host of other non-verbal communication techniques as they use magic, juggling and vocal sound effects to explore the objects that surround them. Slightly surreal and at times absurdist, this show would appeal to all ages.
‘Perfordian’ is the adjective that this Korean quartet have come up with in an attempt to encapsulate what they are about – performing comedians. The concept is simple – take four men, dress them as young children, provide them with a toy box of everyday objects and let a child’s mind interpret to what use these playthings can be put. So a paint roller becomes a microphone and then a helicopter. A globe becomes a glitter ball, then a football and the stand it came with is paraded as a trophy. An electric cord on a reel becomes a yo-yo and you wouldn’t believe what they do with a toilet seat.
But just as you are wondering whether this alone is going to sustain an hour of alleged comedy, so the inventiveness and pace hots up. A can of lemonade is shared between two of the three leaving the third thirsty and unhappy. So he simply takes the empty, crushed can and returns it to its unopened state, opens it and pours himself a drink. Now, how did he do that?
Simple visual tricks (watch what they do with a soup ladle) are mixed with some extremely skilful juggling, rapid and inventive balloon sculpture topped off by a demonstration of the ancient Korean art of balloon swallowing.
Communication between the quartet and with the audience is just the same as that employed in a crèche – point and burble. Thus is created a universal language, just as well really given the audience – we had those from the far east, the far west and several European countries in between.
Mime, some creative voice skills to replicate motor bikes, planes and dance clubs together with some amusing audience involvement ensure that the pace never flags and there is a constant stream of new visual images for the viewer to conjure with.
This was a well orchestrated and delivered piece of physical theatre. The performers’ physical dexterity, use of expression (particularly facial) combined with their consummate magical and juggling skills marks this out as a competent and professional theatre troupe. It comes as no surprise to find that they have a considerable following in Korea and, judging by the way they were embracing members of the audience after the show, they are fast gathering a fan base over here.