Shane and David of The Umbilical Brothers are incredibly good at a few very captivating skills. They have amazing use of physical movement and mime comedy. They are, in my opinion, unparalleled in their ability to create the sound scapes of their gags with only their mouths. So I find myself asking why the Brothers spent so little time showcasing those skills in KiDSHoW (not suitable for children).
Shane and David are very clearly trying to move away from the manic sound effect and mime driven days of Speedmouse and Thwak and incorporate a bit more narrative function and through line to their work. However, I couldn’t help finding myself craving for the moments when they would slip back into the style we all know and love. Their heavy handed references to Speedmouse didn’t help with this, seeming to only remind us of why we used to enjoy their shows so much.
The show’s premise is incredibly amusing and clever. Drugged up, dance addicted and cynical kids tv show hosts Shavid and Dane come on stage only to slowly discover that their audience aren’t kids at all. There is a lot of fun to be had as they run back stage, in what is a very intelligent if slightly overused scene change, and the audience are treated to the conversations happening behind the scenes.
KiDSHoW is certainly still a worthwhile visit this festival. But, despite the moments of complete gold – a scene involving The Brady Bunch was a highlight for me – I unfortunately still found myself walking out disappointed in the lulls the show experienced between those nuggets of hilarity.
I will, however, for the rest of my days flail my arms wildly if anyone asks me to mime.