Brighton Fringe 2012
Yes, it’s a show and it’s on a Bus. Marion Deprez and the Bus Show Company takes on a very special kind of ride on a lemon bus.
The proceedings begin on the street as we are arranged into a rainbow shaped queue. Finally we make it into the bus and an hour and a half of farcical comedy, edutainment and verbal knockabout unfolds.
It took too long to get on the bus but the two performers remained fully in the zone throughout. "Welcome to the bus show!" And that is what this is – a show on a bus, part lecture, part mechanical breakdown, with plenty of visual and verbal humour, audience participation, and a few comedy set pieces.
On several levels the Bus Show worked very well as a site specific performance.
Firstly the performers themselves are very able and their improvisational skills create a lot of moment to moment comedy – a sideways glance, a one liner and plenty of banter with the audience.
Secondly, the show is brimming with ideas – a lot of ideas. It becomes clear that we, the audience, are necessary to the realisation of this performance and they find just the right level of interaction most of the time. People are involved and there’s playful humiliation but this never oversteps the mark which keeps the comedy warm and engaging.
For this to work fully as a performance, by not going anywhere the not going must feel more impressive and valuable than what we feel we might have got had the bus actually travelled to somewhere. I’m not sure this is fully achieved. Perhaps there should be even more times where the bus almost leaves, building expectation and making the repeated come down funnier each time. As it is I sensed everyone wanted the bus to go somewhere. And it didn’t. And the not going was a bit disappointing.
Nevertheless, amongst the chaos there was plenty to smile and laugh at, the performers were full on hosts and worked their socks off, and the Bus Show, once it really decides where it is going, could turn into something special. As it is, there’s still plenty in it to engage.