Although I had never been to Scotland, I always knew I would get there one day. And now, unexpectedly, I have – and all it took was to get along to The Latebloomers’ Adelaide Fringe show, Scotland!
I didn’t even have to renew my passport!
Before my Scottish travels, whenever I wondered what Scotland must have been like, I envisaged a world resembling the Monarch Of The Glen TV show, where all those idiosyncratic inbred kilt wearing lairds are always off fly-fishing in the lochs and streams, or deer hunting in the highlands, or something akin to the world conveyed in the films of Bill Forsyth, like Gregory’s Girl and Comfort & Joy, where the Scots are all heart but have no social sophistication. And perhaps, too, in my mental travelling, I was just a little bit wary of upsetting a local or three and subsequently having to wear a little Begby-an Glasgow kiss, a la Trainspotting style.
Well, it seems I was right. Scotland turns out to be pretty much just like I thought!
Through the course of this very funny show, the audience are taken into the Scottish countryside by three idiosyncratic locals who are behaving typically Scottish in their natural habitat.
All three members of the The Latebloomers employ their incredible physical comedy skills to great effect and conjure up the whole gamut of celtic craziness and highland hijinks as the show progresses.
It’s a show full of traditional songs – sung in very untraditional ways – and the action runs the gauntlet through the full extremes of emotion as we experience random snapshots of pastoral and urban Scotland, as well as journeying through the past back to the battlefields we last experienced in Mel McGibson’s Braveheart.
These three performers know that the trick to creating pathos in slapstick is carried as much in creating and maintaining evocative facial expressions as it is in creating situations where tragedy and triumph jostle for supremacy. These guys have magnificently expressive faces that are so versatile and malleable that they can switch moods, and quite often, species, with the wave of a hand, or a flap of a wing. They are so tightly co-ordinated, that even when the routines seem to be at their most ragged, their high level of synchronised interaction collectively re-emerges in shifting from one scenario to the next.
Interaction with the audience is also deftly handled – and screamingly funny at times – and no more so than when they have one audience member play the role of a regal stag who fights back against the three hunters who are ineptly stalking it, out for its blood.
Some audience members who were invited to participate tried to add some narrative elements of their own but the trio’s improvisation skills came to the fore and easily incorporated the unexpected changes in direction and pacing into their own story arc.
It’s been a while since I have been at a Fringe show that has created such loud and instantaneous belly laughs from an audience, and whilst it is hard to describe this show in any concise or succinct way, it just works.
It’s impressionistic, surrealistic, non-linear and told mostly in mime and sound effects, yet by the end of the performance you will have taken these three clowns to your heart and will be glad you made the journey.
Just don’t rile any of them after they’ve had a wee dram of whisky or two…!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars.
Scotland! is being performed nightly at The Gallery Room in the National Wine Centre until 17 March. Get your tickets HERE.