Olé

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

You would have to be dead not to enjoy this show. It is an
event that could tempt allcomers, without ever appealing to the
lowest common denominator. Bearing in mind that all good comedy
does not have to be stand-up, this is superb pantomime, and then
some.



It takes many of the forms that ordinarily might make your
hair stand on end ­ audience participation, juggling, slapstick,
men in bras - and presents it with cod-Latin panache that is
utterly seductive; I've rarely seen an audience 'get it' so quickly.



Opening with a Spaghetti Western film pastiche the three actors
Antonio Gomez (The Pretty ­ and how), Guillermo De Endaya
(the Old) and Paul Morocco (The Fatty) are in the tradition of
vain juvenile, silly old fool and the cunning clowning servant
who have cropped up in European comedy from the Romans to the
Renaissance and Shakespeare. But the joy of this is that it is
90 per cent non-verbal and showcases excellent flamenco skills,
in guitar and percussion, deliberately cheesy singing and serenading
and outrageously good juggling talent.



Briefly, the first section establishes character types and
a little a group conflict, each vying for the attention of a
woman in the front row. Fantastic guitar playing whilst the instruments
are hurled about the stage is just a taste of things to come.
This establishing scene is followed by another short (like a
minute film) ­ a budding romance which becomes a feature
of the show.



A percussion duet between The Old and the Pretty is magnificently
upstaged by Paul Morocco. He has a Freddy Mercury quality of
being impossible to take your eyes off: you can't decide if he's
weirdly attractive or just weird looking. What's not in doubt
is his electrifying, energetic joi de vivre. Watching him traipse
about the back of the stage in a variety of costumes with mad
little props put me very much in mind of Eric Morecambe ­
turning natural movements and gestures into effortless clowning.



Each time you might think a scene is going on a little too
long, which happens once or twice, there's a swift change of
direction. It's a real kaleidoscope of visual comedy and effects
where little sight gags shift and strike chords in your mind.
But the key thing is that it is all so silly, in the best sense.
It is inventive and frantic, magnificently musical and sends
you out into the world with a great big smile.



Julia Chamberlain



Review date: 1 Aug 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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