Clown­ing glory in mix of mu­sic and com­edy skills

Scottish Daily Mail - - Life - Alan Chad­wick by

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

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