Clowning glory in mix of music and comedy skills
Wereldband: Slapstick Multi-tasking clowning ★★★★★
ThIs virtuoso musical and comedy from Dutch five-piece Wereldband arrives in edinburgh for its UK debut trailing hosannas and five-star reviews from the Netherlands in its wake. And it’s easy to see why.
each year, the Fringe seems to throw up an unexpected sleeper hit that begins by playing to halfpacked houses (as was the case when I caught the show) before word of mouth gets around.
It quickly becomes one of the must-see shows in edinburgh and could run for a further month and still not satisfy the demand for tickets.
At least, that’s the fate I sincerely hope befalls this hilarious ode to vaudeville, whose touchstones include Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, spike Jones and Laurel and hardy. Put simply, slapstick is utterly wonderful. so much so, in fact, that if I could clear a date in my diary and go to see it every day, I would.
As proceedings get under way on a stage littered with props and musical instruments, the comic ensemble can be found tuning up, working out and mingling with the audience.
Then we’re off and running into the riotous carnival heart of the show, as a trip to the fairground becomes the leap-off point into a life-affirming series of skits and musical numbers that showcase the dexterous, multi-tasking clowning and musical skills of this irrepressible troupe.
Normally, I’d pick out a few highlights, but the show is pretty much a succession of them.
A swan Lake parody featuring an ice-skating ballerino is a hoot; the Laurel and hardy tribute played in sync to stan and Ollie projected onto the back cloth a reminder of more innocent times; and the barbershop quartet segments, crooned in Dutch – which (don’t ask me why) just seems to up the comedy value tenfold – had me in stitches.
All of this interlaced with bursts of hot jazz that prove the clowning skills of this bunch are matched only by their impeccable musical skills. Take it from me, these boys can play every bit as well as they can play around.
Packed full of cartoonish, slapstick brio and presided over by a lovable, fast-talking huckster you could swear was Zeppo Marx come back from the grave, the show is one big glorious riot from start to finish and well deserving of its standing ovation. Buy a ticket while you still can.
Assembly George square, until Aug 27