One Man Shoe

An amiable if familiar bumble through the basics of clowning and magic

kids review | Read in About 2 minutes
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One Man Shoe
Published 05 Aug 2017

Somewhere, millennia from now, when humanity is no more than a footnote in the history of our soon-to-be robot overlords, an android will be slipping on a banana skin to the cackle of digital laughter. The pratfalling clown is one of the eternal entertainers. There is something innately likeable about a grown adult blundering around a stage with the grace of a toddler, which is why it's one of the first comedy experiences kids are exposed to.

This Fringe, veteran performer Jango Starr’s One Man Shoe is providing that introduction to clowning this Fringe. Jango plays a Jaques Tati-style janitor, all oversized trench coat and amiable bumble, tasked with preparing the theatre for a performance by the magician, Fantastico. Spoiler alert: Fanastico doesn’t show, so Jango must do the show himself.

At times, the show feels like a box-ticking exercise for slapstick and preschool magic. Bins are tripped over, rabbits are pulled from hats, spoons are bent. And yes, banana skins do feature. This is Clowning 101. The routines will be familiar for parents of a certain vintage. The whiff of a Royal Variety Performance is never far away. But there is enough wonder and charm within to delight the freshest of eyes. And, like the best clowns, Jango switches like mercury between being an infantile clutz to a dexterous performer juggling whatever is at hand.

This perfectly serviceable show is at least one notch above a good children's party entertainer, but Jango’s enthusiasm for his repertoire means it may be 15 minutes too long for the littlest ones. Great for kids who have never seen a man produce an endless series of balls from his mouth, but maybe not one for parents to trip over themselves to see.