Simple Matters is described as a clown act “without red noses” which is good news for anyone with a fear of freaky colourful faces.Hailing from America and prestigiously schooled in the art of clowning, the five strong cast are specialist technicians and very good at what they do. The expressive physicality and cartoonish faces of Chaplin-esque slapstick routines mix with contortion and acrobatics atop a bed of nails. It all hinges on the innovative use of a porterloo, the basis for a crude toilet gag.
When it is funny, it’s childish and predictable. Most of the humour stems from the comic use of musical accompaniment and the awkward inclusion of audience participation. Some jokes and sound effects are overly repeated, losing impact on some already easily guessed outcomes.
Yet much of the show is quite simply bizarre. It’s structured as a series of episodic scenes, reflecting on life’s simple matters and everyday occurrences. The scenes range from the surreal, to the absurd and the downright weird. A birthing scene where various items are pulled out from between a woman’s legs, culminating in a man being sucked inside her womb is exemplary of the cast’s oddball humour. The Bollywood dance finale is unrelated to the rest of the show, but somehow befitting of its utter randomness. Though physically impressive, the grotesque humour has limited appeal.