Fringe World review: Flash in The Can, Did You Hear What I Saw and Aaaand Now for MORE… Kiddo Kaos! ⋅
Subiaco Arts Centre, January 31 ⋅
Review by Rosalind Appleby ⋅
Armed with a bundle of improv games and kitted out in waistcoats and sneakers, Flash in The Can’s five-piece cast transformed the Subiaco Arts Centre into a theatre playground. Within minutes the young audience were in amongst the fray, cheering, jumping on stage, calling out improv suggestions and laughing. So much laughing.
The basic premise of Aaaand Now for MORE… Kiddo Kaos! is the story of a Prince (Tom GK) who is miserable on his birthday. The remaining four cast members (Vicki Hawley, Caitlin Campbell, Tom Skelton and Daniel Nils Roberts) deliver a series of gifts to cheer him up in the form of impromptu stories, songs and skits. Thrown into the mix are crazy twists such as accents, hopping on one leg and other random audience suggestions. Thanks to the talent of the cast the result is immersive, varied and very funny comedy. A highlight was the heartwarming Gift of Love, delivered with the help of a couple from the audience who kindly shared the story of how they met. Within minutes their relationship was immortalised in a sweetly-rhyming song, the audience joining in the refrain. The rap battle was also clever and a favourite with my kids.
Needless to say the performers (derived mostly from Racing Minds, one of the biggest British names on the Fringe improv circuit) operate with seamless team work and impressive singing skills. Importantly they are also respectful; no idea is rejected, there is no pressure to participate and there is immense gentleness with the audience. If I could I would go again multiple times and watch the joyful gift of world class improvised comedy work its magic on an audience.
The cast members are also involved in seven other Fringe shows. We also took in Did You Hear What I Saw where we learned to our surprise that two of the performers have disabilities. Tom GK, quietly spoken and with a penchant for noodling at the keyboard, is in fact hearing impaired. Tom Skelton, loud and larger than life, is visually impaired. Together they shared the story of their friendship in a semi-structured improvisation. Their moving story revealed the ups and downs of living with a disability, interspersed with jokes and songs. We learned the five things NOT to say to a person who is deaf or blind, the five things that are good about having a disability, and the importance of friendship. The references to Brexit or Milton Keynes may have gone over the heads of the 8-12 year olds the show was aimed at. And as is the trap with autobiography the Toms did get bogged down in minutiae. But the content will refine as the season continues and the material is golden.
Aaaand Now for MORE… Kiddo Kaos! continues until February 10. Did You Hear What I Saw continues until February 2. Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes continues until February 9. Tom Skelton’s Macbeth continues until February 4. Tom GK: Hearing Loss, the Musical! runs February 7-10. Improv Allstars Up Late runs until February 8.
Pictured Top: Tom GK from Did You Hear What I Saw. Photo Rosalind Appleby