A pair of idiots whipping each other with leeks hardly seems like a
particularly strong premise on which to build an hour long show. Though
a great deal of Cirque de Legume consists of such broad
slapstick moments, clowns Jaimie Carswell and Nancy Trotter-Landry
never outstay their welcome. Instead, with director Pablo Ibarluzea's
assistance, they somehow succeed in dressing their mindless chaos up as
The show's fundamental strength is that it includes well placed
moments of tension for which the duo's brand of cartoon violence
provides an emotional release. When the performers take to the stage in
nervous silence and begin to treat a romaine lettuce as if it were a
dog, the baffled audience is unsure whether to laugh or not. It is
minutes later as the front rows sit covered in vegetable debris that
the atmosphere begins to lighten.
There is little to justify the duo's behaviour other than the faint
sense of malevolence which underlies the show. In a segment entitled
"The Horse of Spain", Carswell's mime act is sabotaged as his
domineering partner force feeds him a succession of carrots. As he lies
on the stage, choking to a soundtrack of mariachi music, she postures
atop him as though intentionally adding to his discomfort.
Such antics wouldn't seem so charming if the performers didn't imbue
their parts with a childlike, wide-eyed sincerity, a trait embodied by
Trotter-Landry's onion striptease. As she coyly promenades the stage,
raising a finger to her pouting lips as she peels back the onion's
layers, it's hard not to be won over.
- Lewis Porteous
The above review is republished from Fest,
the essential on-the-ground magazine for festivalgoers, which
Whatsonstage.com has teamed up with for the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe. For
more Fest reviews, visit www.festmag.co.uk.