Fills Monkey: Incredible Drum Show

Wed 5th – Mon 31st August 2015

reviews

Izzie Fernandes

at 10:44 on 8th Aug 2015

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It has to be seen to be believed. The Fills Monkey duo not only put on a show to remember but they displayed energy and talent never to forget. Picture two overgrown boys sitting at the foot of a vast and beautifully shiny drum kit, sporting shorts, braces, floppy hair and wielding drumsticks. These men, Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Coste, are drumming extraordinaires.

It took between me sitting down, slightly bemused, to the first display of bold red lights and tremble of the drum roll for me to shuffle to the edge of my seat, where I was to remain for the next hour.

With superbly talented musicians and showmen who attacked their performance with contagious gumption, this performance had both old and young in the audience clutching their respective Carlsbergs and Cokes with grins on their faces and knees bopping. Think drums, bold lighting, strobes and a beat to die for.

These musicians demonstrated synchronization which screamed bromance. The array of delighted facial expressions and perfectly performed drumming duets meant one could only respond to such blatant compatibility by considering their own couple goals.

Not a conventional word of ‘the queen’s English’ was uttered, yet there was not one moment of silence in the packed theatre. Whilst the original and technically fantastic performance would have sufficed, this was as much a comedy as an outburst of musical genius. The pair’s skilful incorporation of props, from ping pong bats to lightsabers, added theatrical essence to the sexy, sleek concert feel.

This is an aesthetic show; its good looks and brilliant sound provided animating stories which injected energy into the audience. The appeal to both kids and adults surpassed just musical prowess and comic slapstick. Fuelled by bubbles, head torches, a chainsaw, tennis balls and exciting lighting, role play and innuendo was in full swing amidst the music.

The energy of this performance could seem wasted on an early evening time slot - a late evening performance would have furthered the chic concert feel. However, as the show’s appeal was universal and the audience response so enthusiastic, this passionate display of talent made a superbly rehearsed and uniquely performed afternoon pick-me-up, which I have yet to find anywhere else.

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Julia Pritchard

at 10:51 on 8th Aug 2015

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When I first heard the name, ‘Fills Monkey: The Incredible Drum Show’, I had no idea what to expect. Would I be met by men on drums dressed as monkeys? Would it be actual monkeys playing the drums? Surely not. Either way, nothing could have prepared me for this sensation, likely to be one of the best hours I experience here at the Fringe.

The premise is simple; two guys, one drum kit. But with more than 20 drums and cymbals, coloured LED light displays and a wealth of crazy props including whistles, lightsaber shaped drumsticks and even a chainsaw, it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than it initially sounds.

The pair start on a standard drum-kit, with impeccable synchronisation, before moving on to play steel drums and even the venue floor and steps in the same cool, suave style. Barring the aid of a soundtrack used in the ending (a solid ten minute air guitar and drum sesh to rock classics), the performance was solely made up by the pair’s drumming skill - a very impressive feat, considering the show and its continuous beat lasted an entire hour.

The ‘monkeys’ themselves, Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Coste, truly shine. Their technical skill is faultless, with each individual move perfectly timed to create endless intricate and infectious rhythms - so much so, that you almost forget they’re actually producing the sounds you’re hearing. They switch from standard drums, to their own chests, to bashing giant coloured drumsticks on the heads of the audience along to everyone’s favourite guilty pleasures, from Grease the Musical to Queen. You just can’t help but sing and clap along.

The playful drummers turn their talents to sport at one point too, cleverly and wittily managing to combine their drumming with the art of tennis. Starting by bouncing tennis balls off their instruments to create the beat, they then transform the drums into rackets and progress to a lengthy, full-on rally, imitating the athletes by grunting and excessively fidgeting, Nadal-style. And all this whilst still in their naughty school-boy outfits, competing and playing games against each other, and constantly grinning and winking at the audience; almost like a Mario and Luigi of the drumming world.

One word springs to mind when I think about this show: fabulous. A chance to unashamedly embrace your inner Dave Grohl, it’s an hour that definitely would not go amiss during your time at the Fringe.

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