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Slightly Fat Features (Edinburgh Fringe)

This comedy cabaret troupe at the Pleasance Courtyard promise "an edge of your seat experience like no other"

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What on earth is going on here? A bunch of bonkers blokes have perpetrated a cabaret-style vaudeville that is closer to the Billy Cotton Band Show than Cirque du Soleil, and more like the Crazy Gang than Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Variety, in other words, has not died, after all, at the end of Great Yarmouth pier, though this lot would no doubt help it along its way with their haphazard juggling, light-up xylophone playing (with tennis balls), DIY acrobatics and escapology, and the extended humiliation of a muscleman, "Wayne Marvell," for whom life is a perpetual mystery until consumed by his own stripy cheetahs.

If the comedy of magical mishap is post-ironic, it is so in a healthy sort of Tommy Cooper way: a stumpy cowboy midget endures some barbarically hilarious treatment, while "How Much is that Doggy in the Window" involves a row of cuddly toys and a couple of hammers.

Not since the Goons or Monty Python have I seen such merry group mayhem, supported by a wayward rocker on keyboards and a huge fat man on drums, both of whom join in; the fat man is a deliberate butt of a whole other stream of jokes which you can't quite believe you're hearing, while another loon, a sort of crazed Michael Bentine figure, with mad professor hair, leads us in an audience sing-along of Doddy-style happiness.

Slightly Fat Features really has come out of left field, and I couldn't have been more surprised, or delighted.

Slightly Fat Features continues at Pleasance One until 26 August (not 12)


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