Scotland!: The Late Bloomers Theatre Company. The Theatre Box, The Warren, 12, 13 May
A crowdfunded physical theatre show, performed by this new company’s three members. The Latebloomers met at Ecole Jaques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris, and herald from – no, not the lands of Caledonia – but Australia, Sweden and England, with the company based in Bristol.
The Latebloomers take you on a potted history of Scotland, and walk you through its beautiful countryside, via the medium of mime, clapping, stomping, incredibly bendy facial expressions and really spot-on sound effects which all come from the cast. It’s a high energy performance, with high energy laughs. The trio manage to have the entire audience in tears (of laughter), from a mere glance, or a wink or a shout at an audience member (“LESLEY!!!!!!”). They are masterful in their manipulation of the audience – the awkwardness of the public on stage adds to the slapstick comedy. You feel very much part of their journey, whether is imagining eagles in flight or laughing at underpants with the Scottish flag on.
There are more serious undertones to the show too – Brexit being one, and Scotland’s history another. The aspect of the show which stood out most was the connection on-stage, and how the three male characters support each other emotionally. Not only are the actors very well in tune with one another in the performance, but the characters are in turn emotionally vulnerable at times, and they are given loving support from their friends. In a world where men find often find it difficult to show emotion and to visibly support each another, this was refreshing, and felt liberating.
The Latebloomers make full use of physical theatre, from lots of energetic running around, to achingly slowed down movements, to allowing the audience to visualise the wonders of Scotland they clearly love themselves. It is wonderfully evoked by the clever use of sounds they make, from the pretend bag pipes, to the swoosh of the wind that blows them over and my favourite the “plop” of the fishing float entering the water. Through all of this they make everyone laugh – a LOT! The clowning is superb and everyone left the little theatre with cheers and whoops, and visibly uplifted. Did I mention – they are VERY FUNNY?!