Monday, 12 August 2019

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Knock Knock at the Assembly Roxy

Hot Coals Theatre have hit headlines this Fringe as their unique charming style of theatre without words has not been classified as d/deaf accessible because it does not have BSL signing and yet both performers are BSL trained and have designed the show to be accessible for all without signing.

It is an extraordinary mix of physical comedy, clowning, mime and dance used to create emotionally engaging storytelling. "Knock Knock" explores what happens when a botanist, Pepper, knocks on the door of a forest dweller, Harris. 

It is devised and performed by the Founders of Hot Coals Theatre, Clare-Louise English and Jo Sargeant who work so well together. You hardly notice that there are no words as they use movement and facial expressions synchronised with the beautiful underscore to tell their story. With their comical noses and Harris's sumptuous beard, so much of the emotion is expressed through their eyes and they exploit this wonderfully, never rushing the moment and always aware of the audience watching them.

It also has a clear message about gender roles in marriage as they find that following the guidance of the books "wifing for dummies" and "husbanding for dummies" does not necessarily lead to successful relationships.

For a Fringe production there is an incredibly detailed and attractive set. One half of the stage is the woodlands with its trees and flowers which both characters worship in their own way. The other half is the interior of Pepper's wood cottage reflecting his simple life with books and a cooker. The door they pass through from woods to interior is cleverly mounted on wheels so that they make the movement a dance. Jo Bernard has done a wonderful job throughout developing the movement routines from synchronised double acts to acrobatic tumbling and graceful dance. There is a delightful sequence that shows the passing of the seasons, so simply and magically executed.

The show continues to grow as these two accomplished performers inhabit their characters and it is too be hoped that the headlines turn into deservedly bigger audiences not just from d/deaf community but all ages and backgrounds who will enjoy these charming story tellers.

Review by Nick Wayne

Rating: ★★★★★

Seat: Unreserved | Price of Ticket: £14
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