Six Players. A menagerie of instruments. And one massive projector set up, jam packed with cartoons. This is the set-up of The Queen's Cartoonists Fringe debut at the prestigious Assembly Roxy. A musical cavalcade of animated shorts and scenes to live jazz music - but is this a snappy, electric animated masterclass in music or does it just fall flat in cartoon motion?
It's entertainingly good fun
For an animation and/or jazz fan, this show is a must. A collection of iconic characters from Popeye to Wallace and Gromit and Porky Pig to Shaun the Sheep grace the screen of the Central Hall of the Roxy. Their voices and (some) sound effects remaining the same but their old and sometimes iconic scores birthed anew by smooth, quick, toe-tapping jazz. Especially with the additions of more contemporary animation put to their own compositions, these moments were really special. Additionally, with their partnership with Aardman Animation, the masters of stop-motion animation, there are more characters which are perhaps more familiar to the UK audience. But I wouldn't say the show is without its flaws.
Mainly, this boils down to who is this show aimed that. Who are the audience for this show? Some aspects such as the international animation and attempts at humour feel for a more mature viewer, an unpleasant disruption for younger audiences as was the case in this performance but something appreciated by those older. But the long focuses on characters such as Shaun the Sheep, though appreciated, felt far more like content for a young audience. This didn't feel like an all ages show but more a jarring and uncomfortable seesaw of entertainment.
Overall, especially for a debut, this is a good one. It's entertainingly good fun. But if, hopefully, The Queen's Cartoonists are able to return next year with two shows for younger and older audiences in a similar vain to John Robertson's The Dark Room or Basil Brush's Fringe performances.