I am Somebody

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Emma Taylor

at 23:41 on 10th Aug 2016

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Can you describe a performance in one word? If so, this show would be fun. It is a performance like lemonade – fizzy, sweet, bubbly – a performance that radiates happiness, beaming it out to the audience with the performers' torches in the dark. ‘Sirqus Alfon: I Am Somebody’ is a collection of glittering music, dances and comedy, forming an eclectic mix of entertainment which certainly should put the Swedish trio on the Fringe map.

What is immediately apparent when watching this show is how visual it is. All three performers are dressed in wacky candy-coloured costumes, and it starts with a startling and hauntingly beautiful strobe light show all created, seemingly, from handheld torches. The background to the performance is an amazing, kind of technicolour retro portrayal – think old digital countdowns in luminous green and old computer game styles – which add to the surreal atmosphere. What is so interesting, and impressive, is the way the performers interact with the music and digital backgrounds. It is a kind of digital dance, almost robotic in movement, in which the performers move to look like their movement is creating the music. It is timed to perfection, with the result that a performer lifting their hand seemed to create, for example, a clash of cymbals. The end scene, in which the performers move on the floor in a way that is filmed to look like it was in mid-air, is inspired to say the least. The music is, predictably, very cool, a mix of old school hip hop and unique beats, enhanced with some serious drumming from one of the performers.

It is not just the performers having fun, though. The show is incredibly interactive in a way that allows the audience to be swept up in Sirqus Alfon’s fluorescent tidal wave of bizarre entertainment. An audience member’s reply to where they are from ("Sussex") is morphed into a hip hop beat the performers danced to, and in one particularly memorable moment, the audience’s clapping and miming of playing the violin is filmed and played back, edited into a bizarre and almost beautiful collective dance.

The performance is also, in parts, comical. A classic slapstick scene involving a banana – all the hallmarks of a scene done too many times before – is given a fresh take with a kind of slow-motion dance in time to dancing strobe music.

It waiss fun escapism at its most colourful and best. ‘Are you with me?’ one of the performers cries to the audience at one point through his bright white megaphone. ‘Yes!’ cried the audience back. Sirqus Alfon? You are somebody.

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Jessica Cripps

at 08:21 on 11th Aug 2016

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This show is crazy. C-r-a-z-y. The audience knows they in for something a little bit strange when they are encouraged to keep their phone out. While others may try to impress with poignant drama and complex subplots rivalling Shakespeare, this show competes on another level entirely.

Think lasers, meticulously synced techno sounds, cameras here there and everywhere videoing in direct conversation with the stage, and that most unpredictable of things, audience participation.

European techno boffins Sirqus Alfon encourage all the shrinking violets to embrace the madness of the Fringe in their brand new ‘I am Somebody’ show. The show, in itself, combines the same kind of light hearted cheese as a bad nightclub, with the comedy of slapstick and the showmanship of tech gurus. Somehow it works. It is a genre all on its own. And it would be impossible to insult because the whole show, in itself, simply asks you to have a good time.

So many things could have gone wrong: drummer Emilio Åhlsten’s fake drum kit beat, Babham Halim’s on-the-spot techno remix of an audience member’s voice, Ejve Åhlsten’s mischievous stop-start time banana gag. It is a testament to their level of rehearsal, focus and fun that they never strike a single beat short. They could coax even the tamest audience into cheering, clapping and stomping their evening away.

The deliberately retro gamer backdrop pleasantly clashes with modern references to technology such as selfie sticks. Sirqus Alfon find the fun in our newfound self-obsessed culture by asking us to “take a pic quick with a selfie stick” while projecting the selfie stick screen onto the stage for us all to see our crazed selves posing and prancing around. However, comedy was quickly rebalanced by an embarrassing text from ‘Mommy’ asking when they would be home for dinner.

It probably will not be a game changer. It is silly fun, with perhaps a political message if you look hard enough, but do not convince yourself that these talented guys are doing anything other than having fun.

However, in not trying to be bigger than their boots, they are completely successful in their intended purpose. It would be near impossible not to enjoy it.

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