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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Watch our world's taboos through the eyes of The Buffoons. A razor-sharp satire where everything is a source of ridicule, and the forbidden and unforgivable are common place. They'll say what you only dare to think and laugh while they say it. Find out what happens every time Bruce clicks his fingers and what's so special about Phillip.
The Buffoons provide an astonishing whirlwind of taboo-busting comedy which couldn't tackle more controversial material if it tried. It's a quite brilliant exhibition of bad taste but despite its willingness to offend, it has its heart in the right place.
Early on, a spoof of the Jeremy Kyle Show sets the tone. The awful ITV programme is a soft target that has received its fair share of attention from comedians – but nothing quite like this. Kyle's programme has often been called 'a freak show' but no-one has been brave enough to illustrate this idea as vividly as this quartet. A fantastically exaggerated array of grotesques are paraded at rapid pace as Jeremy Kyle stands in the middle loudly declaring his superiority over the miscreants. The baseness of this is funny enough, but it was incredibly sharp to notice the full extent of Kyle's arrogance and make this the central feature of the sketch.
This astonishing directness is evident in all of the sketches and the impressive pace is unrelenting. The writing requires fully committed performances and these were certainly provided.
One particularly dangerous scene features the only female member of the troupe advancing across the stage in the style of a coquettish pre-teen while her thoughts are heard from off stage. It's an audacious attempt to portray a precocious tendency towards flirtation and the conflict created when this clashes with modern advice about 'stranger danger'. It doesn't come close to excusing any misinterpretation of this behaviour but even acknowledging its existence is fantastically brave.
A Crimestoppers spoof riffs playfully with the idea that the programme's presenters are voyeuristic about rape, with an endless stream of advice and pleas for people to get in touch with their own experiences. As with almost all the sketches, the sheer energy impresses as they explore every aspect of this idea without any apparent fear that the audience will worry that sexual assault is being condoned.
Other skits were just as inclined to risk offence but it wasn't all gynecology and scatology. One sequence has one of the group demonstrating that he's 'been there, done that and got the T-shirt' in every imaginable realm, and it contains a quite astonishing performance that rightly earns a huge response from the audience.
The Buffoons are perfectly in tune with their target audience, producing a great show for those who have the stomach for it. Just don't take your Gran or anyone who's ever read the Daily Mail without screaming.
|Date of live review: Monday 9th Aug, '10|
Review by Jason Stone
I can only think that certain people who have commented on here did not understand the concept of this show at all. Surely satire is supposed to make us feel uncomfortable and question our values and those of our society? The Buffoons certainly succeeded in this whilst at the same time making me laugh hysterically (albeit somewhat guiltily) at this frank reflection of we see around us every day. The day I attended the audience loved the show, which was well put together and energetically performed. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this show to anyone who doesn’t have a stick up their backside and is emotionally secure enough to be able to recognise their own prejudices and fallibilities, and those of the people around us.
If we remember correctly, the poster which advertised this show did warn that it may be offensive / not for the faint hearted. We can only speak for ourselves when we say that we thoroughly enjoyed The Buffoons and would definitely see them again. Moreover the fact that the audience were laughing for the majority of the performance would suggest that they were also having a good time. Surely if a comedy performance manages to make people laugh / smile then it is achieving its goal? It was risqué, and as such, we would argue very brave of The Buffoons to perform in front of an audience and risk such scathing comments such as the ones above. You can’t please everyone all of the time, comedy is about diversity and taste. In our opinion it was fantastic, by far, the funniest thing we saw at Fringe 2010.
Brilliant show ! half the audience walked out after 20 mins - their loss. Very funny, and refreshingly un-pc. Bravo!
I have to say I thought this show was great. Hilarious, funny and shocking. I went along yesterday and the audience didn't stop laughing from start to finish. Thank you The Buffoons for a fantastic night!
First off, I am extremely thankful to Chortle for its excellent Edinburgh reviews. They have never let me down… until the above! I was not offended by the topics covered or the statements that they attempted to make… it just wasn’t funny. The delivery was terrible. Their social criticism pointed towards awesomely obvious conclusions and therefore achieved nothing. I don’t think I was alone in this opinion – the audience fell silent soon after the start, even the buffoons themselves left 10 minutes early! Absolute puerile drivel. The reviewer should be put on tea-making duty.
Just back from watching this. Wandered in at random and felt like wandering out again after five minutes. Wasn't funny at any stage, if that was satire clearly I have misunderstood what satire was my entire life. A dribble of halfhearted applause every now again and a feeble round of applause at the end suggests the rest of the audience felt the same way. The worst show I've seen on the fringe in over 30 years.
This show was an atrocity, it wasn't clever, or funny. And how can doing impressions of people with severe learning difficulties, or terminal illness be "having your heart in the right place".
I actually have to argue that Stone's review is particularly insightful. Forgive me, but I think you may have missed the point?! Whilst the show was both shocking and deliberately overt, the statement the buffoons make is surely a well-crafted satirical outlook on our current society?
Whoever wrote this review was obviously sitting in a different theatre to us. The Buffoons is quite possibly the worst show I have and will ever see. There is nothing remotely 'brave' about their show or its content. It is offensive without being in the slightest bit amusing. To suggest that the show is not all 'gynecology or scatology' is laughably near-sighted (I refer mainly to the sketch involving a retired pornstar quite literally displaying her incontinence) and to suggest that the tiresome and predictable T-shirt sketch added in any way to the diversity of the show is utterly ridiculous. The fact that the sole laugh raised in this trainwreck of an hour was based upon that three people behind us believed they were in Antigone suggests how quite abysmal this show really is. Sophocles will be rolling in his grave that anyone would mistake his work for this utter tripe that was the Buffoons.