Beyond the Ridiculous at Wardrobe Theatre

Having laughed my head off (and very nearly done a tiny wee in my seat) at the Beyond The Ridiculous show in the very same venue two weeks ago, I eagerly gathered my kin together to watch the Mother’s Day family friendly day time performance.

The BTR team a band of talented uninhibited, verging on the quite frankly unhinged, loons have been brought together by their erstwhile ringleader, Holly Stoppit. Once a fortnight they gather together to light up Sunday evenings at Bristol’s newest cultural vulture’s hang out, The Wardrobe Theatre at The Old Market Assembly. Each of the 17 strong bunch take it in turn to take centre stage with absolute no idea of what they might do or say. There are props, a tech team and their fellow players to help, but it’s what pops into their head and their raw talent that carries the performance.

They are Fools and their performances are comedy jazz. Neither you or they know what is coming next, which can lead to false starts and dead ends as much as to beautiful, rib aching, absurd, free form, nonsensical genius.

We found ourselves being among other things tangerine queens, chicken dancers, percussion instruments and matadors. We laughed, danced, we booed and hissed, we stamped and shouted and laughed some more. Some of us got up on stage to and we all watched in wonder, charmed by a real live baby.

What was truly wonderful about this show is its effect on the audience. The onstage absurdities, that often spill over into gang ways, seam to magically release the watcher’s inhibitions too. These Fools seem to give licence let down our guard and shake it all off. Consequently, there was a beautifully intermediate camaraderie built between all the multi-generational audience members, almost as if via osmosis.
This was laughter therapy, but just as Holly said right at the beginning, this was a one off show. That performance had never been seen before and will never be seen again. So if you want to be part of this brilliant fortnightly idiotic happening you’ll be able to catch them on Sunday the 20th of March 8pm at The Wardrobe Theatre, and fortnightly after that until the 1st of May. Tickets available from The Tobacco Factory Theatres Box Office.

Review by Jessie Currie

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