For more than 20 years, the Umbilical Brothers have been entertaining audiences around the world with their slick slapstick, mime, characterisations, voices and sound effects in highly imaginative situations. They use minimal staging and rely instead on their physical ability and their unique way of engaging an audience’s collective imagination into their heightened world.
As soon as the Umbilical Brothers – David Collins (Dane) and Shane Dundas (Shavid) – come running out on stage in A KiDs ShoW (Not Suitable for Children), pretending they are performing for a children’s audience, you know you are in for a good night.
They establish the patronising personas of children’s performers and quickly reveal their true natures behind the stage curtain. Collins and Dundas are masterful in their mime, physical comedy, vocal skills and use of technology. They are agile, physically and mentally, and an audience needs to concentrate to keep up with them.
There are many remarkable moments in this show. The occasional swearword slips out and they are censored with words such as “flub” issuing from their lips, then they are “beeped” and finally they struggle to get words out: these moments are great because the duo are doing all the sound effects and reacting to them. Their verbal gags are fast and fun, and they love playing with words, puns and sounds.
They gradually establish that the audience is an adult audience and that they must be perverts to be attending a children’s production; as a result, the Umbilical Brothers create an episode of The Brady Bunch which totally undoes the corny, schmaltzy sit-com convention and instead turns it into a Tarantino thriller. They manage to incorporate an imaginary Mickey Mouse and a precocious boy in their show, and Dave Collins’ characterisation of a drugged “low life” selling dance and mime is hysterical. For good measure, the duo use some puppets but what they do with them is probably not suitable for children.
A KiDs ShoW (Not Suitable for Children) is a highly entertaining production guaranteed to make you laugh The Umbilical Brothers’ rapid-fire delivery will require an audience to concentrate in order to keep up with this talented duo’s imaginations.
The Umbilical Brothers: A KiDs ShoW (Not Suitable for Children) is at the Royalty Theatre until March 16. It is not considered suitable for children aged 13 or younger.
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