fringe: kaput

adelaide fringe: tom flanagan - kaput
We first saw Tom Flanagan's Kaput back in 2012 and the show has only gotten better in the last six years.

If I'm remembering correctly, almost all of the show is the same, structure wise, it just feels more "lived in" if that makes sense.

And I absolutely laughed until I was crying.

Although, full disclosure, part of that was because Ma ended up being a major part of the finale of the show, which just made it all the funnier. Part of the show involves him "wooing" a woman from the audience, and in this particular instance he chose my 70 year old mother, and she played along brilliantly. In fact a number of people came up afterwards to tell her how good she was.

I also had Flanagan throw a box of popcorn in my face, as part of the aforementioned wooing... it was definitely our day for audience participation.

At it's heart, the show is pure slapstick, with it's roots in silent comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Norman Wisdom, Michael Crawford or Rowan Atkinson plus a little of the British pantomime tradition and some Looney Tunes cartoons thrown in for good measure as Flanagan tries, and fails in increasingly destructive and insane ways, to show a movie to the audience.

As with this type of humour, part of it comes from the fact that at times you know exactly what is about to happen but Flanagan's hapless and bumbling character is seemingly clueless to everything going on around him. Until he's not and the panic sets in.

With this type of show the comedy and seemingly "out of control" nature of it often belie the skills of the performer, and while the character is often losing control, Flanagan maintains it beautifully, especially with the ladder tricks.

What I love also about Flanagan is that he's clearly having just as much fun as the audience, and there were some brilliant moments where he either breaks "character" because someone in the audience does something he wasn't expecting or something odd happens with the sound effects (I'm not sure if some of those were a "supposed to happen like that" or a "happy accident" to be honest... in either case it was hilarious).

Plus it doesn't hurt that he's incredibly charming (even when pelting me with popcorn) and, let's be honest, very pleasant to look at.

It's also a show that kids love, if the amount of squealing and laughter was any indication.

yani's rating: 5 flat caps out of 5

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