The Umbilical Brothers: The Distraction

The Umbilical Brothers (Shane and David Umbilical) are two multi-award-winning Australian actor-comics who have created a genuinely fresh and modern style of comedy show, combining their writing and performance talents with modern technology that presents limitless potential for creative design. They exploit every possible angle from the concept and push their ideas to the max, and it makes for an unmissable and unforgettable comedy experience.

I've seen 37 shows in three days and when people ask for a recommendation - this is it

The stage is set with intriguing green screens and cameras, with a large screen displaying videos and livestreams at the back. You’ll want to get there nice and early, because as the audience arrives, the screen is displaying some truly hysterical one liners and sound bites to welcome you in. For minutes, this was consistently roll-on-floor-funny and, if eligible, deserves to sweep all ten places for Funniest Joke on the Fringe. What a way to start a show!

The unique (probably - this is the Fringe, after all) premise involves the two stars performing a range of highly creative scenes, transporting themselves onto the streets of Edinburgh, outer space, and everywhere in between. Not only do the Umblilicals invent novel settings, but the mind-blowing special effects in the videos are – quite literally – to die for; expect to see explosions, phenomenal use of props, epic inclusions of audience members in the videos – it's truly a roller-coaster of inventiveness and everything (minus a couple of well-covered techinical hiccups which can be forgiven at the start of the festival) is seemless and played for maximum effect.

While the screen is your main focus, you'll want to keep the stage in your peripherals to truly marvel at how the cinematic results are manifested from seemingly mundane activities a few feet below. Like many shows on the Fringe, Shane and David have come up with a great idea. What sets them apart from the compeition is the depths to which they have pillaged it, sparing no expense, nor a creative thought, to truly push the boundaries of what their idea can create. You won't find anything like this on the Fringe, and the high expectations created from the outset never dip for a moment. I've seen 37 shows in three days and when people ask for a recommendation - this is it.

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Reviews by Victor Black

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Winner – Best Comedy at Adelaide Fringe. Do you love staring at screens? Are you staring at a screen right now? You should get out more. Specifically to a show that has an enormous screen smack-bang in the middle of it. The Umbilicals take the energy of live performance and the spectacle of cinema and smash them together into a show performed simultaneously on stage and on the big screen. It's like nothing you've ever seen, and will blow your mind way more literally than you are expecting.

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