Review: The Black Blues Brothers

The Black Blues Brothers brings sheer spectacle and a classic soundtrack

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 09 Aug 2019
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The Black Blues Brothers

An acrobatic tribute to the 1980 musical comedy classic, The Black Blues Brothers is easy, sometimes cheesy, watching but packed with powerful tricks. Our five performers are dressed in the requisite trilbies and shades, but this homage is musical rather than plot-based. Huge tunes—'Soul Man', 'Shake a Tail Feather'—from the iconic soundtrack are blasted at a delighted mid-afternoon audience, and the lack of any kind of narrative is compensated by sheer spectacle.

This show truly has everything – smiley performers, stressful human pyramids, a limbo competition, actual fire. There’s the kind of fun but cringe audience participation that makes you glad they chose that bloke in the front row, although the troupe treat every volunteer with care. The brotherly rough-housing between the acrobats is genuinely affectionate, and that trust pays off massively when they’re balanced precariously on each other’s heads.

In the moments between backflips and handstands, though, there are some awkward lulls. Some silent, mimed skits leave the audience unwilling to break the silence. It’s absolutely a family friendly show (they once performed for the Pope), but a tongue in cheek strip routine to 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' ends oddly. The storyline paints one cast member as reluctant to take off his shirt and, indeed, his hat, so the rest of the cast unceremoniously drag him around on a rope. But when the troupe gets back to defying gravity, there’s not a single person in the house that's not cheering.