If you were the kind of kid that rocked out in your room with hairbrush in hand (or if you do it to this day), you'll like Lords of Strut: Chaos. Likewise, if you're a sucker for bright lights and shiny things, these boys will be your jam. Cian Kinsella and Cormac Mollally play airheaded Irish brothers; Famous Seamus and Seantastic, a double act determined to help us achieve our dreams - or rather, as they phrase it, to "do the do." Celeb-obsessed, they plan to hit the bigtime with their mix of jams, gymnastics and gender-bending getups.
The pair pin down the flash and vacuity of celebrity culture in spectacular fashion, but such a synthetic concoction gets a little sickly after a bit.
Chaos consists of a series of segments, each of which is both vacuous and visual: It's difficult to pick out a best bit between the acrobatic opening, the impersonation of Whitney Houston with a wind machine and a finale featuring Christ, cling film and Carmina Burana. Perhaps I have a skewed perspective though: having been wrested from my bench, clad in a jacket and made to lead an interview before turning out a dance routine, I might have been a little addled by adrenaline in the end. Don't get me wrong, I loved my five minutes in the fame game - the pair lead their audience through such silly bits with a winning charm and cheek. Kinsella's and Mollally's performances are alive with energy and idiocy in equal measures, and believe me, that's a good thing.
Given all this, it might seem easy to critically overthink Lords of Strut. But seeing as it supposes itself to be satire on celebrity, a bit more bite in the writing wouldn't go amiss. Between sections, the brothers are given a narrative arc and often the plot is too frothy to stomach: Famous Seamus' popshots at Seantastic aim to play to pantomime wails, but over an hour, this shtick gets yawnsome. Likewise, a protracted back-and-forth, after a power-out, threatens to end the show and is so insipid as to be uninteresting. Perhaps the point is that the show is as simple as the brothers themselves, but something so easy to understand is to under-appreciate the audience's intelligence. Likewise, a few too many of the jokes are brain-mulchingly bad - ten a penny at the Fringe are shows that aspire to anti-comedy by being intentionally poor. While Lords of Strut can definitely do it like the best of them, the balance between the deliberately dire and a more ironic kind of satire is a little off. The writers' biting wit is in evidence: Seamus' claim to authenticity ("there's nothing behind this facade") and other such clever comedic sideswipes tease at the showmakers' intelligence. It's unfortunate that we don't get to glimpse a little more of it.
Maybe chaos by its nature can never be perfect, and Lords of Strut certainly stumble on their way through the show. The pair pin down the flash and vacuity of celebrity culture in spectacular fashion, but such a synthetic concoction gets a little sickly after a bit. Nevertheless, this show for the most part is fun, frolicsome and pretty darn fabulous: "do the do" and do, do see it.