Tobacco Factory Theatre, Circus City Festival, Bristol; 29th October 2015
The Lords Of Strut have hit Bristol in all their lycra legginged, high-top and headband wearing glory, on a mission to change people’s lives through the power of dance. And through deep, body-rocking laughter. In Chaos, the two brothers Famous Seamus and Seantastic (Cormac Mohally and Cian Kinsella) have decided to share with us their life-coaching wisdom in a motivational seminar that, as promised, gives us Everything.
The pair’s ease with improvisation and their hilarious disregard for propriety mark them out as natural clowns, twisting the traditional authority roles of circus clowning into a relatable sibling power battle. Seamus is the older, the self-designated leader and star of the show, with a manic edge and maniacal showbiz grin. Sean is the taller, eager-to-please younger brother, charming in his desire to do well, but with a mischievous streak of his own when he thinks he can get away with it.
The show was publicised for ages of 8+, which seems to have surprised the two fellas. Particularly when even this suggested age range has been ignored by a number of brave parents. The profusion of ‘Bloody Hell’s is, a little bird has told me, a polite edit of the usual language, made for this unexpected crowd. Other than that, however, I see no reason why children wouldn’t enjoy the entertainment – the men dress up in funny clothes, they take their clothes off, they let us swarm the stage and whip them with foam batons… I imagine British audiences may find the appropriation of religious iconography less shocking than those back home in Ireland but, though their material might be a little risqué, it is never unsanitary, and always good natured. Everybody needs silliness like this in their life now and again. That said, I’m not a parent, so maybe my view is a little skewed 😉
As in The Family Show, which I saw in Edinburgh, there are a few fleeting moments of acro incorporated into the dance routines – the low ceiling of the Tobacco Factory Theatre proving exactly the same height as the pair on top of each other. Sean gets to show us his Solo, where he squeezes himself butt-first through a small silver hoop, and Seamus wows us (aka ‘creases us up in laughter’) with his exquisite tap dance and cane routine.
In the course of communicating the importance of the brothers’ life-changing advice to ‘Do da Do’, there’s also an inflatable sofa, a brave chat show host, a Whitney Houston impression, and a power cut. There are felt-tip stigmata and clingfilm mankinis. There is, literally, a kitchen sink.
The blessing the show received by Father Billy at the start of the evening pays dividends, and I cannot think of a more invigorating way to spend an hour. I’m still grinning writing about it now!