As a Far East-ophile (sic), I was slightly disappointed 2008’s InvAsian splinter festival wasn’t back at this year’s Fringe. Whilst Universal Arts and Venue 150 have provided a few Singaporean shows, there’s been very little in the way of oriental delights on offer in Edinburgh in 2009.
Original Tempo go a long way towards addressing this with the madcap mayhem which is Shut Up, Play! – an hour of bonkers physical comedy and music which contains moments of pure genius and channels the spirit of perennial festival faves Gamarjobat with its lunacy and charm.
A loose conceit of a ‘girl in the book’ underpins the show, but this is largely irrelevant as the talented troupe dash around stage, making music from anything they can find – such as bowls of water, television sets or pots of noodles. As in Xavier Mortimer’s Shadow Orchestra, there are some clever moments of projected images; and as with Sambor Dudzinksi’s Time(less) Machine, Original Tempo also create a unique composition using sampled loops and audience participation.
It’s always fascinating to observe such cultural threads and themes emerge at the Fringe, whether by accident or design, but it is to Original Tempo’s credit that their show shines through on its own merit, being an utterly charming and chaotic slice of Japanese comedy that is very hard to resist.
Shut Up, Play! runs until August 31st at Sweet ECA. £8.50 (£7.50 concession)