Superbolt’s marvelous little offering, despite being loosely plotted and having a somewhat frivolous narrative, makes up for its faults with buckets of heart. Showcasing talented and efficient clowns – the company formed out of the Lecoq school in Paris – this three-person multi-roler follows the story of a lost musical score from the opera houses of Russia to the enclaves of the Egyptian pyramids and the cafes of northern Spain.
Using various methods of scene creation – puppetry, mime, some very good songs – we are taken on an adventure with these sometimes hammed but more often very well-pitched clowns. There are some wonderful comic performances, particularly from Simon Maeder who has the widest eyes I’ve ever seen. Frode Gjerlow also makes for a great giggling buffoon but the notable lack of any straight characters in amongst all the ridiculousness means that there are potentially fewer moments in which to laugh out loud. We are provided again and again with brilliant slapstick, but each gag becomes less and less effective as we have no one on stage with which to throw the comic madness into relief.
This said, there were several moments of belly-laugh hilarity, the audience opening up to an unusual form of storytelling very quickly and accepting the transitions from puppetry to real actors without too much trouble. The ability of the actors to switch between one role and the next is truly commendable.
It’s a great and mostly neat little performance, and I expect once the actors settle into their run “Piatto Finale” will be a good ticket-seller over at Zoo, it’s a fun hour sprinkled with Two Ronnies-esque sketches and has one of the most brave endings I’ve seen in a comedy for a while.