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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Only Bones

Toumas Monckton with the Kallo Collective

Genre: Comedic, Mime, Physical Theatre

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Body popping physical theatre artiste makes your eyes pop open with his comic virtuosity.


Only bones. But what bones. The bones are attached to muscles, taut muscles, there are limbs and digits. Lovely naughty digits. Very naughty digits, oh so human. The body belongs to Thomas Monckton, a young Mick Jagger fused with an Aardman animation. He is walking plasticine. A body popping Pixar movie made flesh.

We are taken to the depths of the ocean and to all out nuclear war. We see half cow half sheep smashed together with a genetic clap of his bony expressive hands. We hear all this too, the soundtrack by Toumas Norvie, fizzles with hotspur and Monckton adds his own vocal dexterity to the mix – though not a word is uttered. We laugh. We laugh loads as he distorts his craggy features into grotesque versions of himself. At one point he becomes a human puffer fish – a superhero able to dive for pearls for hours on end. There’s a wonderful telling satire on selfishness too; it’s freezing, one hand has a glove and the other doesn’t, the first does not want the other’s cold bones anywhere near, and so a gem of a comedy ensues. There’s a gory stabbing scene as well, and an angle poise lamp that transforms into a wailing infant (Pixar again). Technician Gemma Tweedie sits nearby and presses the buttons but it’s Monckton who presses ours, delightfully so. Thrillingly so.

The Finland-based physical theatre company Kallo Collective has produced a glorious crowdpleaser, rightfully receiving a huge ovation from the entranced audience. Like Moving Picture Mime Show (for those of you with long memories), this touches the heart. Like David Glass’s mime projects – he also touches the soul. What more do you want from one man and one hour? Blood? Oh there’s plenty of that too. A treat for the eyes, so much so they might pop out. Monkton’s did.