‘Laser Kiwi’, by Colossal

Review from: Assembly George Square Gardens, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 1st August 2019

This hilariously bonkers New Zealand trio had us at ‘referendum’. No mention of Brexit, however. In 2015, citizens of New Zealand were asked to design and vote on an official flag for their nation. Sadly, the Laser Kiwi design by James Gray did not win. But that did not stop it becoming an inspirational symbol of taking crazy ideas to extremes and sharing serious joy in dedicated nonsense.

The company Colossal are brothers Zane and Degge Jarvis, and Imogen Stone, who all met as teenagers in Wellington. They created their first performance as a troupe in 2014, and Laser Kiwi won a Best Circus and Physical Theatre award at Adelaide Fringe 2019.

Each of the three has a firm grasp of comedy performance, as well as their own stock of jolly decent circus skills. The unique presentation of balancing, aerial and object manipulation acts generate massive laughs and the most vocal, spontaneous commitment of audience members to the success or failure of a trick that I’ve heard in years.

Photocopied sheets of paper doodled with a scene-list and passed out to each of us serve as a show programme and a form of inanimate ringmaster, building expectation and intrigue around what act might entail. I don’t want to give spoilers by posting a pic of the whole thing, but highlights include ‘Planet Gobblers’, ‘Pug or Poodle’, and ‘Let Us Yarn’, which ties some semblance of purpose to the otherwise random seeming segments.

One of my highest accolades when I look back over previous reviews seems to be ‘I’d go and see it again’. I’d go see Laser Kiwi again in a flash, and I’d bring all my friends, circus and non-circus afficionados alike.

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