‘Unmarked Vehicle’, by Chloe Mantripp

C South, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 13th August 2017

Chloe Mantripp at Edinburgh Fringe

Oddly positioned within the Cabaret/Variety section of the Edinburgh Fringe programme, Chloe Mantripp‘s debut show is a surprising treat of one-woman comedy theatre. It’s not stand-up – although Mantripp has a delivery that suggests she could go in that direction – and it’s not really circus – although the whole show is performed on and about a free-standing aerial hoop rig. It’s an unshowy representation of life as a pie delivery driver, and a funny trip inside the solo mind and meandering thought-processes of 3am on the road in a giant truck. The fact that this comes from a woman is by-the-by. (But, actually, in a culture where diverse representations of female roles and allowable behaviours are still spread woefully thin, this could be one of the show’s greatest selling points.)

Snacks and drinks line up down the sides of the rusty cab-cum-hoop (yep, there’s a visual ‘rig’ pun in there if you want to make it), and the rest of the stage is left bare for Mantripp’s occasional forays down to solid ground. She has a great charm and ability to hold her audience through strange sections of autobiographical musing and awkwardly extended radio sing-alongs, and the show is screaming out for a director to get hold of it to tighten up its corners and focus its concepts. There are very interesting ideas here and a dedication to show structure that’s unusual to see in young circus artists flying solo. Already it’s an entertaining hour, and I hope it’s allowed to develop into the strength of its potential.

This written commentary is pretty short, as the show was seen as part of the #CircusVoices residency and an in-depth video response was posted by the group to Facebook Live, which can now be seen at this link. As ever, it would be great to extend the conversation, so do feel in any comments or thoughts that you might have!


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