Hootingly funny and devilishly clever, Fishbowl is a masterpiece of physical comedy. The narrative follows three eccentric neighbours living in cramped attic rooms who throw off the usual conventions of city living – namely refusing to make so much as eye contact with public transport co-habitors, shopkeepers or, worst of all, neighbours – to become a friendly group.
So far it is my pick of the Fringe so go get a ticket before everyone else catches on this this years hot thing.
Winner of the prestigious French theatre award, The Moliére, for Best Comedy Play it was already a sign we were in for a treat. The first thing you’ll notice upon entering the Pleasance Grand for the 1pm showing of Fishbowl is the enormous and intricate set. It would legitimately be worth seeing this show just for the set design, the props and the amazing stage management that brings the whole performance to life in a crescendo of bangs, whollops, water works and pyrotechnics. The three rooms each created totally uniquely – one belonging to a misanthropic futuristic clean freak decorated with clap operated toilet, one belonging to a ‘trainee’ chiropractor-come-hairdresser-come-phlebotomist that is also home to a much put-upon goldfish and one belonging to an accident prone hoarder and tinkerer who does some unspeakable things with a bunny. Watching the actors move around their spaces you are constantly terrified the whole thing might fall over, but they are deft hands at making the whole thing their own.
In their billing they tell the audience to expect Mr. Bean, however the graceful comedy is so much more nuanced than Mr. Bean. Actors Agathe L’Huillier, Olivier Martin Salvan and Pierre Guillois bring a comedy that is a beautiful and subtle blend of slapstick, absurdist and satire. Each one not overly used as to become repetitive, each joke feels fresh and as much as it is funny it is also just terribly sweet, heart-warming and a fascinating story without ever saying a word.
This show is more than just a slapstick comedy; it is a touching portrait of caricatured lives. It feels like the exact right combination of element to be the best Fringe show – polished, slick and professional enough to be on the West End, but unique, imaginative and absurd enough to only feel right at a Fringe venue. So far it is my pick of the Fringe so go get a ticket before everyone else catches on this this years hot thing.