Umbilical Brothers: KiDSHoW (not for kids)

If the Umbilical Brothers were part of your upbringing, you probably would have repressed it. Nevertheless, the Happy Fly Dance was a classic opener, their twisted songs and creative mime artistry teaching us more about the world than we quite wanted to know at that point. The bears were a bit much, to be sure. And the story about the Brady Bunch Massacre, acted out with tight timing and scarily life-like sound effects, has haunted many a night since. It is a very good thing this particular KiDSShoW is not, and never has been, for kids.

This show is far more than a kids' show: it is an antidote to mime, a crossover between comedy and physical theatre with just the right amount of both

Hilariously dark and stupendously sinister, Shane and David grab our attention from the off, the two flailing performers in front of us showing both sides of the curtain of a children's TV show in the making. Desperately trying to make it all work, they go from dancing to singing to that vivid, nightmarish mime that will make sure you never look at Mike and Carol Brady the same way again. And that's just what's going on onstage: behind the scenes we're treated to flashbacks, silver-tongued jibes thrown between the two actors, and more mime-fights than you can shake an imaginary stick at. Through misdirection, voicing and lighting, we're drawn to sympathise with characters who, logically, realistically, aren't there at all. But there they are, telling us jokes, interacting with Shane and David before rushing offstage, never to be seen -well, imagined- again.

Good mime done well is captivating in a way simple slapstick comedy can't be. On the odd occasion we're not laughing, we're marvelling at how that noise that Shane Dundas is making does sound exactly like a pine tree falling on a dog, or how David Collins' erratic dance moves are timed so eerily well. This show is far more than a kids' show: it is an antidote to mime, a crossover between comedy and physical theatre with just the right amount of both, and a scarily silly, nonsensical hour. Which is a pretty good thing, since it is definitely not child friendly.

Reviews by Jenni Ajderian

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The Blurb

The Umbilical Brothers make a welcome return to this year's Fringe after an absence of nine years. The legendary Australian duo are set to mark their return with a brand new show, and it's a KiDSHoW! Laced with mature themes, violence, frequent course language… and time permitting, face-painting! Your inner child will never be the same again. ‘Dark, twisted and undeniably funny ... an absolute triumph’ (

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