Rowan Atkinson, move over; there’s a new show in town. Ian Gibbons gives his all, taking comedic mine to new and inventive heights, delivering a performance that is a great deal of fun.
This show is original, inventive and hugely entertaining
The show’s title, The Performance, is tinged with a degree of irony, as the line between audience and performer was constantly shifting. It all began as the audience stepped through the door of Studio 3 and were greeted by a wide eyed, slightly manic usher, who directed us to our seats and pressed a programme on each of us with such charm that we were totally engaged before the show even began.
The entrance of his next character, a delightfully naive Welshman waiting for this girlfriend, elicited guffaws of recognition as he plunged into the audience wearing an overstuffed rucksack, shuffling along the rows of seats before skillfully crossing the line and taking his place on the stage. From there, our host used his skills as a comedic mime to elicit loud, often raucous laughter from the audience as a series of mishaps plagued each successive character.
The beauty of this show is that the lines between audience and performer are blurred with such disarming originality that no-one has the time or inclination to refuse the invitation to join in the fantasy and in the end, the whole audience joins in onstage for a final dance. The usher then returns to end the show by shouting at everyone to get out!
In between we are treated to a medley of interactions with an empty wine bottle, popcorn set to music, a nose picking sequence, a tango lesson, an interpretation of Romeo and Juliet using only “the body”, an ongoing feud with the sound man, a three-way fight and the inevitable mobile phone; although this was used in an inventive and original way. The characters poke gentle fun at the pretensions of theatre and dance, which brings the audience even closer as they join in the conspiracy - “Shhh! I don’t really like dance.”
This show is original, inventive and hugely entertaining. The laughter was constant and loud and most appreciative. Engaging the audience from the outset was a clever move and the continued use of them as a prop for each character was nothing short of brilliant. It’s a shame The Performance only runs for three night, but it is a “must see” for Brighton Fringe. If you’re feeling a bit down and in need of laughter strokes, or simply enjoy watching a consummate performer at work, or just love being actively involved in iconoclastic inventiveness and downright silliness, this is one performance that you can’t afford to miss.