It’s the end of the world. Petty human conflicts have lead to humanities complete annihilation and the four Horsemen of the apocalypse gallop to Earth as the harbingers of the end of times.
Except, one of them didn’t turn up.
Teatro do Montemuro and Absolute Theatre’s imaginings of the trials and tribulations of three of the Horseman of the Apocalypse left stranded on a desolate English beach front is beyond anything else the silliest, funniest dumb-show I have seen in years.
This play does not rely on words (apart from the occasional grunt, squeak, sigh and roar) but instead on a universal language of clowning (physical comedy). Much like their concepts, the cosmic forces of Pestilence (Eduardo Correia), War (Paulo Duarte) & Famine (Abel Duarte) lack most forms of normal communication as well as any regard for any human social convention.
These three hapless beings are gradually transformed into gibbering buffoons who by the end have cast off any aspersions that they were there to do anything other than have a good time – and eat. The action of the play ramps up on the discovery that without their colleague (Death), none of them can die – hilarity ensues as they decapitate, stab and gut each other with abandon! Smearing thick white Sun Screen and having spent too much time in the Sun (leading to bright red noses) leads the trio to change from intimidating riders to classic personifications of the traditional clown. As the Horsemen are transformed, so too is the audience – asked, asked again, then dragged on to the Stage to become bird catchers, a stand-In Death, a line up in a Footy match or a disciple at the Last Supper – you should see this show with a view of being sat on, hugged or handled at any stage. A word to the wise is not to be reluctant it only makes you more likely to be picked.
It was expertly handled. There were no slip ups, not a foot, fish or fowl was misplaced. These clowns were exact in every mis-step, fake punch, ladder climb and bonk to the head. Not only being incredibly funny, but also assuring the audience that they were in safe (if inept) hands.
This is International Theatre at it’s best. It is clever and expertly devised and though the Stars of the Hour (and 10 minutes) were the three Clowns on Stage, mention must be made to the whole collaborative team for creating such a marvellous evening of witty, silly and cuttingly clever entertainment. Hands down a thoroughly enjoyable performance (unlike any other you will ever see) which is guaranteed to be a treat for anyone – any age, any language.
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