Silent comedy perhaps isn’t the first thing I would think of to entertain children. I would worry they might be bored or distracted. But having heard the level of laughter emerging from the children at Jango Starr’s ‘One Man Shoe’ – I stand entirely corrected.
From the very start of the show, Jango’s slapstick comedy had the kids giggling uncontrollably as he lost his hat, became caught up in a coat stand and generally – was a perfect clown.
Performing to music, Jango transformed from an accident prone caretaker into a magician ready to entertain the masses. Intentional mishaps aside, his juggling and carefully choreographed routines revealed his absolute talent as a clown.
The show takes us on a journey in which a caretaker arrives at a theatre only to discover that the magician due to perform has in fact, left for a new life in Spain. Unfortunately, this part of the plot was explained through written words so Katie missed this point of the plot. Although generally silent, there were sounds effects so I do wonder if this could’ve been conveyed through a recorded answer phone message or something. This would’ve made the story easier to follow for the non-readers.
However, I’m not sure how much the plot really mattered to the pre-schoolers in the audience as they sat amazed at the various magic tricks and general silly behaviour. Katie particularly was awestruck at his ability to make things appear from thin air.
Ben (aged 12) was less convinced. Although he giggled along and enjoyed the slapstick, he’s reached an age where he is too observant for most slight of hand magic. The small theatre was pretty unforgiving if seated at the ‘wrong’ angle so for a sceptical pre-teen most of the tricks were not really that ‘magical.’
As an adult, I have to say the thing that most impressed me was the choreography. There were a few routines in the show – one with an umbrella and one that involved juggling different hats that were just superb. I doubt anyone could fail to be impressed at just how smooth they were and how much practice would have been needed to achieve them.
However, for me overall, the best bit really was the evident enjoyment of the younger kids. The entire front row was reserved for children, ensuring that they could see and really be part of the magic. Entering the venue (the Omnitorium) was really like going into a fortune tellers tent and was just the perfect venue. The delight on the little ones faces was so evident as the giggles just continued throughout the show.
The audience behind us – made up of adults rather than skeptical pre-teens – equally seemed to be having a good time and certainly gave enthusiastic applause at the end of the show. It was lovely that Jango spent time greeting members of the audience after the show and was happy to chat to everyone.
Star rating: 4 from the 12 year old, 5 from the giggling preschooler!
One Man Shoe is on until August 28th, 11am at the Omnitorium, Assembly George Square Theatre.