Hi-Kick

As a reviewer I try to keep an objective distance from the show to which I'm assigned, but in the case of this enthusiastic showcase of soccer skills from Korea, I found myself very unprofessionally becoming a performer myself, picked from the audience to participate in a game of soccer volleyball in front of 200 people. Painfully ironic, as I was always picked last back at school. For good reason, since I made a total fool of myself, kicking away at the ball with all the finesse of an elephant doing the can-can. Perhaps a football enthusiast would have enjoyed this show more than I, but it was a bit of an odd mixture all round.

We are presented with a team of 11 Korean footballers, who emerge on stage with earsplitting pop music, garish lighting and enormous grins. While their cheeriness was infectious, I found it hard to follow the point of the little skits they presented – here was some rivalry between two team-mates, here was a couple of bits of light slapstick – but it never amounted to an overall narrative. Because the form of the show was so unfamiliar (not many comedy-football-physical-theatre-dance-sketch-shows at the Fringe, or indeed anywhere) it was difficult to follow any characters or story, which detracted from the, albeit well-performed, physical comedy. In general, the comedy bits fell short, with the central joke of the missed ball being better done in “Peanuts” cartoons. Not to mention the incomprehensible English placards. “We want to use the ground” sounds like a badly translated Occupy slogan, not a football-supporter's sign. It all appeared a bit mad.

The show was nothing but impressive, however, during the more abstract sections when a football game was turned into a thrilling dance sequence with a mid-match fight feeling surprisingly visceral given the lighthearted japes of just seconds before. The dancing seemed far better than the performers’ attempts at football, with balls going awry, and none of the stadium skills being good enough to challenge the great Nike ads of old. This could be an excellent show to take kids to, with its simple visuals and sense of fun. And indeed there might be something I'm missing not being a football watcher myself. But still, despite some very high-quality physical work, there wasn't enough content to fill 60 minutes with rapturous applause. And that berk in the volleyball sequence was truly terrible.

The Blurb

This fiercely funny physical spectacular features stunning dance ... and football! Follow the fortunes of a rag-tag team of unlikely heroes!