The story of a man down on his luck, tired of living in other people’s shadows and longing for fame and recognition may not be anything new, but this is old school silent comedy done expertly well.
In his new children’s show, One Man Shoe, magician Clive Andrews introduces us to his bumbling, baggy pants wearing alter ego: Jango Starr. The plot is straightforward: Starr is a struggling caretaker for the magician Fantastico, but when he fails to turn up for the next show, Starr gets his big moment and steps into the limelight. Children won’t be fazed by the lack of narrative one bit – there are enough hilarious obstacles for Starr to tackle to keep everyone laughing. These often come in the shape of various inanimate objects, including a moving coat stand, broken brooms, juggling hats and umbrellas.
One Man Shoe is certainly a fitting homage to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Although the audience, being primarily 5-11 years old, may not appreciate the influence, the story still has a timelessness that will appeal to all. The blend of magic, clowning, and slapstick is brilliantly smooth and despite the lack of words, Starr’s fantastically enthusiastic expressions say it all.
At times, the show can be a little repetitive, almost more like a showreel of magic tricks rather than a story. Nonetheless, this is charming, good natured entertainment which had every single child in the audience laughing from start to finish.
Words: Claire Jack
One Man Shoe, Assembly George Square Theatre, Aug 16-28 (not 21, 22), 11am