Review from: ‘DTCB: The Prison Years’, at The Counting House; 16th August 2019
‘Family Show’, at Free Sisters; 17th August 2019
Circus Sonas is a Northern Irish father and son duo with matching long beards and tattoos. At the Fringe 2018 I watched their late night show involving dad Martin using a whip to take the end off a breadstick wedged between the cheeks of son Logy’s bare bottom (And getting Editor Kate rather drunk on free shots! – Ed.). When I heard they were back in 2019 with two new shows – including one designed for a family audience – I was curious to see how they had developed and what their PG content would look like.
The first show I saw was The Prison Years. This year they had given their content a setting and a loose narrative. They perform in jumpsuits and establish that they are in a prison cell and the audience is the ‘boys in the yard’. They perform interesting tricks with unusual props that would be found in prison or that have been ‘smuggled in’ (queue lots of jokes about things being shoved up places) including toothbrushes, coins and juggling balls made of condoms. The humour is brash and sometimes obvious but it is what they do best. They have a great way of interacting with the audience and are very comfortable with improvising, which is why they surprisingly pull off a fantastic family show.
For this performance they dress in matching striped black and white long sleeved tops and black pleated skirts. They keep the children involved, getting them to obey signals to be noisy or quiet, clap along with catches and count cigar boxes. What sets their family show apart is that their experience performing adult content means they are able to give a nod to the parents, including jokes that keep grown-ups entertained along with the children. They speak to everyone on an equal level which means they don’t patronise the children and adults can enjoy it without having to endure a ‘baby voice’.
What makes this pair great is that they have fun with each other on stage and are not afraid to take risks. They take mistakes in their stride, try out different props and push each other physically and creatively. I am intrigued to see what they bring to the Fringe next year.