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Adelaide Fringe 2013


Frank Woodley and Simon Yates

Genre: Physical Theatre

Venue: Romantiek, Garden of Unearthly Delights


Low Down

Frank Woodley (Lano & Woodley) and Simon Yates (acrobat) team up to deliver an intense hour of emotional physical agility, sad clown humour and what promises to be “a world of hilarious and heart-breaking nonsense.” 


The comic duo have transformed the Romantiek tent at the Adelaide Fringe Festival’s Garden of Unearthly Delights into a wonderfully ironclad, sterile jail-like cell, the home of twins Viktor and Vissilli; caged and subjected to absurd experiments. The stage is small, bleak, dim and uncomfortable and offers little more than a bunk bed, a toilet and a hanging light. As audience members we immediately feel trapped, as if prisoners along side these twins.

The story follows the two brothers while inside their cell and their dream of escape beyond the wall. Through physical theatre, acrobatic moves, slapstick and comedy, the pair’s journey hit the hearts of many in the audience. Their life is dismal, monotonous and cruel, delivering raw emotions that tend to overpower any opportunity for sidesplitting “big” laughs as vowed in their advertising. 

A third warden-like character enters the cell at times to deliver horrendous news and is played by a piece of cardboard with contemptuous eyes moved by Woodley and Yates. The addition of a third character helps to move the plot forward when the twins are told that one will face experimental torture until his death while the other will experience a life of pampering.

Of interest was the use of sound effects, particularly the painfully loud and steel like roller blind lifting to offer five minutes of vitamin D to the prisoners. The ear aching noise realistically captured Woodley’s and Yates’ environment, reminding us that freedom is priceless.

‘Inside’ is not the traditional comedy you would expect from Woodley who is known for his funny man stage business along side Lano. While he includes some of his iconic facial expressions and fast-talking gags, it is great to see Woodley expanding his skills and performing dark clown. Yates delivers excellent acrobatic moves throughout the show and the finale is definitely worth seeing.

Fresh Fringe goers who are not familiar with different clown styles may leave more perplexed than before entering, as this is certainly not your three stooges type of show. However, for a gripping show that is well written and performed and explores the bond between brothers by uniquely skilled physical and comedic talents, ‘Inside’ is worth seeing.