Edinburgh Fringe 2022
It’s cocktail hour. Somewhere it is always cocktail hour. But here we have the resident barman enter, followed by a couple of his team who must dust and prepare for cocktail hour. But the radio has different ideas, and it begins by playing some toe tapping tunes. From those tapping toes comes a delightful acrobatic performance that draws in standard songs from the film and other well-known classics beside as the cast tumble, balance and use all sorts of furniture in imaginative and creative ways – especially making sure that you have your heart in your mouth whilst they hold your heart in their hands.
There is a key skill which is lost in some variety acts – the ability to tone down the cheesiness but still make the act seem like it is being performed for the very first time and only for you. It is rare but when it happens, it is delightful.
This group are delightful.
From the set up to the ending we know that we are not going to have some kind of sensitivity warning as this is Fringe as entertainment rather than infotainment; and it is nonetheless just as worthy. The set pieces are hardly new, but they are presented with such verve that the smile they display is one that creeps across your face in mirrored response. You just can’t help yourself.
The acrobatics are tremendous and performed with hardly any flaws. There were a couple of missteps, but they were hardly noticeable, and this crowd were in an overwhelmingly forgiving mood – if they even noticed them.
The one area where I struggled was with the character being drawn as the authority figure towards the end who stopped all the fun, he was central to for the previous 50 minutes or so. As a storyline it jars. As a piece of theatre, it seems difficult to work out how to get round it.
There is also an old world charm as they strip though one of them is embarrassed in a cutesy fashion – it is almost as if The Chippendales had never happened. It also brings us to the boy chases girl scenario as the girl is drawn from the crowd. It works and their audience love it but part of me wishes we could get to the point where the norm was more diverse. It is not, however fair to tarnish their abilities with an unfair brush.
This was what we expected from a group that had already made it to the Royal Variety Show. Slick, high octane energy and with a bit of spectacle for good measure. The set pieces which were most impressive included the chairs built up and that heart in your mouth moment when three high, they fell face forward as well as THAT skipping!
I would recommend this show, and have already done so, not as the epitome of the spirit of the Fringe but an example of why the eclectic nature of the Fringe needs to be able to accommodate all. The fact that it feels like one of the best of its genre is a wonderfully added little bonus.