Things were warming up at the Spiegeltent Bosco as the pre-Eurovision party crowd was ready for some afternoon goofs and giggles. Who better to deliver than Privates, the clown trio known for their good-humoured all-round silliness. This time, they were taking on Homo sapiens’ greatest and worst inventions – maybe a bit more than they could deliver.
good old slapstick comedy.
This is the world premiere of their new show Great Ideas by Geniuses, where in addition to some useful inventions in human history, the self-proclaimed idiots try to win the Nobel Prize with their worst ever DIY inventions, like the spinning hand sanitizer dispenser, the ham laminator AKA haminator, and slinky hands, foot, eyeballs, even a head.
Each Private has their own forte. When Christian Brighty isn’t clowning, he’s performing comedy videos on TikTok on the regency and romantic period dramas like Pride & Prejudice. Luke Rollason’s physical comedy is all about his big eyes, big hair and tiny frame. His appearance on Laurie Black’s Bad Luck Cabaret had the audience roaring with laughter. The multi-instrumentalist of the trio is Tom Penn, specialising on violin (grade 8 distinction), piano and double bass.
There were some issues with the performance that I would fix. Firstly, they were trying to fit way too many ideas into the show. They had the greatest inventions of mankind, from discovering fire to the moon landings as well as featuring great thinkers like Newton and Galileo and their theories. Then there was the Nobel Prize Committee and the troupe’s DIY inventions. On top of this there was the meta story of human beings debating their relationship with god. A lot to take in for an adult, let alone for a child.
Another problem was that the show couldn’t quite decide whether it was meant for an adult or child audience. For adults, some of the general mayhem and running around was too messy and for children, some of the conceptual thinking probably went right over their heads. The most peculiar number was a very Monty Pythonesque sketch about a man failing to milk a cow, accidentally drinking its urine, shooting the poor thing and eating it up in a hamburger. I think this one left both young and old a bit baffled. Later on, something else that tastes just like chicken ended up in a burger, but I won’t reveal more.
As always, Privates offer good old slapstick comedy. They have great chemistry together, even if it sometimes comes out disorderly and uncoordinated. They are at their best in individual numbers, but whenever all three are on stage, they are like 5-year-olds on a major sugar rush. Even if their comedy doesn’t invent the wheel and could be a bit more polished, there is always a place for feel-good family entertainment.