If you have a small child, or were yourself a child of the ’80s or ’90s, you’ll know all his big hits and will have a good idea of what you’re in for at a legendary Combe concert.
If you don’t fit either of these criteria, let me spell it out for you: this show offers close to an hour of highly professional kids’ entertainment with great vocals (Mr Clickety Cane still has those golden pipes), lyrics and melodies that children love, plus a spattering of adult wit for the many parents and grandparents in attendance.
With a nod to his ’80s career roots, Combe’s new Fringe show, Bellyflop in a Pizza, features a stage set with giant Rubik’s cubes.
There’s also lots of colour in the form of back-up singers and dancers from the Theatre Bugs. This chorus ensemble features seven lovely lasses and one little lad, all decked out in their sparkly Fringe best. The easiest way to describe their spangly, spotted and striped tutu costumes is “carnival clown cool”, or “visual candy for kids”.
The show features all Combe’s hits (“Tom Can Play the Trumpet”, “Quirky Berserky”, “Jack & the Beanstalk”, “Newspaper Mama”, “Juicy Juicy Green Grass”, “Spaghetti Bolognaise”, “Chopsticks”, “Wash Your Face in Orange Juice”) and, as a special treat, a new song from his upcoming album. The test song he performed, “Mr Soundman”, met with resounding approval.
A word of warning: it’s hot in the Corona tent at the Garden of Unearthly Delights, even when not overly hot outside. Many attending Sunday’s sold-out show spent much of the time fanning themselves and children with flyers and programs. That said, the kids still loved it and enjoyed the interactivity and invitation to dance on stage at the end.
At 50 minutes, Bellyflop in a Pizza is an ideal length for younger children and, from the excitement and applause, it was clear that decades on from those Rubik’s cube beginnings, Combe more loved than ever.
Bellyflop in a Pizza is at the Garden of Unearthly Delights from March 11-13, and 18-19.
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