Medicine Show

When you’re promised with a show that “aims to cure your everyday ailments and add a little colour to a bleak looking world”, it’s easy to be optimistic. Good fun, physical theatre, a company not taking itself too seriously: a refreshing and light-hearted way to spend an afternoon. So it is with regret that I have to report what Mr and Mrs Clark actually present is a mishmash-cabaret-style-dance-piece-with-live-music-sort-of without direction, or a discernible structure or any compelling theme.

A little seed of dread was planted as soon as I was handed a raffle ticket walking into the rather intimate auditorium. Audience participation? In the “dance and physical theatre” category? The audience was summoned up again and again to be “cured” of imaginary ailments, such as incompatibility with a partner (we were all strangers after all) and “wonky auras”. The reason no victimised audience members pulled their hamstrings trying to copy a particularly complex move was because the vaudevillian couple weren’t really doing anything very complicated – or even that interesting - at all. The worst was a bit where someone was tied to a chair with bandages. The couple then proceeded to sit on her, give her funny glasses to wear and some flowers to hold. I couldn’t work out whether the poor woman was laughing or crying.

There was the odd redeeming moment in the potential of a parody-style acrobatic sequence that showcased the couple’s obvious physical capabilities, which made the rest of the show seem rather unnecessary. Indeed, the audience members ended up being the more successful performers of the afternoon: watching two strangers trying to assemble a tent onstage is quite amusing.

It was this apparently unplanned and slapdash feel that made the whole concept so disengaging. The odd bit of singing, the odd bit of guitar-playing and some atrociously delivered lines all contributed to a mélange of seemingly ill-rehearsed material which, unfortunately, wasn’t very funny at all.

Reviews by Emma-Jane Denly

Duality

★★

Vitamin

★★★★★

Peter Panic

★★★

Thread

★★★★

The Blurb

Mr and Mrs Clark want to cure your everyday ailments and add a little colour to a bleak-looking world. ‘Unpredictable. Full on. Hilarious.’ (South Wales Argus). ‘The Clarks make unique and astonishing performances’ (Volcano Theatre Company). www.mrandmrsclark.co.uk.