Funny Bones Trash

Wed 5th – Mon 31st August 2015

reviews

Llewelyn Hopwood

at 09:22 on 28th Aug 2015

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For those looking for something to help pass a slow morning in the Edinburgh Fringe, there are better ways to do so than going to see Funny Bones Trash. As a show that promises non-stop laughter for children and adults, it would seem that one should never judge a book by its cover or by its blurb.

The act consisted of a silent comedy duo, Chris Peters from Manchester and K-Bow from Tokyo, who were clearly talented and experienced performers, but who relied heavily on the power of a funny face. Their comic appearances did evoke laughter from all corners of the theatre, but this was not enough to carry an hour of comedy. Similarly, showing the creative possibilities of waste through magic tricks, puppetry and slapstick was entertaining but lacked the electric atmosphere necessary to fully harness a child’s imagination and attention.

The tricks on offer were rather low-key, silly and simple, and wouldn’t seem out of place in a birthday party from which you wouldn’t mind leaving early. Sincere laughs were to be had as the ‘magic’ behind each trick was purposefully revealed in an embarrassing fashion, and although the repetition of this technique felt tiring towards the end, this would definitely appeal to the younger members in the audience. While the inventiveness of some of the uses found in pieces of rubbish piled at the back of the stage did coax giggles out of everyone at some point in the show, this was the whole premise of its entirety, and therefore, by the end the idea turned into what felt like a warm-up exercise used by a bored drama teacher.

The show only began to stop feeling like a waste of an hour when the two told a story of a man’s life through a series of episodes that manipulated the simple prop of a roll of white masking tape, which became a baby’s face, a walking stick and a double bass among many other things. Flexible giant puppets made of enormous, black bin bags closed the show by zooming around the stage and into the faces of the audience. This was the only truly memorable section of the show.

Nevertheless, the instances of slapstick, clowning about with glasses of water and a good deal of toilet humour aroused sporadic roaring laughter from many of the children at the show, which surely means the performance reached some of its goals.

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Chloe St George

at 12:26 on 28th Aug 2015

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In their new show Trash, Funny Bones do exactly what they set out to do - to present an hour of light-hearted silliness alongside some more skilful entertainment that will have both children and adults laughing. The laughter may not be “non-stop”, nor the performance “captivating” but the hour was fun-filled and the adult volunteer brought onto the stage certainly seemed to be having as much fun as the child.

Although they are both talented performers, Funny Bones (Chris Peters and K-Bow) comically pretend to clutch at straws with their magic tricks; as one held up a veil ready to make an object disappear, we could see the other scurrying offstage carrying the object. This level of humility was sufficient, and on the occasion that Peters broke his mime – one of the few times he did so – to tell the audience that ‘it’s an illusion’ felt unnecessary.

Impressive magic tricks aside, their balance of silly but skillful entertainment crosses into a range of genres. One minute they are beatboxers and street dancers and the next minute their movements are light, like something out of Singin’ in the Rain. A personal highlight was a scene in which Peters takes his uncontrollably hyperactive dog out for a walk. There is no magic and only one prop, but his exaggerated physicality and cries of “Poochie” are very funny. At other points, however, usually when the music cut out, the show became a little slow.

Props were introduced under the guise of practical usage, but were inevitably then manipulated imaginatively to comedic effect. A prime example was plain old masking tape, which became a multitude of figures including a double bass and a dancer. For me, when Funny Bones can do so much with a simple prop, there is no need for them to rely on cheap laughs from crudeness or over-using a silly facial expression.

The very end to the show was disappointing, as Funny Bones delivered a spiel about being grateful and their backgrounds as performers. This part of the show doesn’t need to be cut, but Chris Peters could deliver it just as earnestly without abandoning all of his energy and presence as a children’s entertainer. It would ensure that the show ended on its highest note and that the audience left with high spirits.

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