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Edinburgh review: Only Bones (Summerhall)

New Zealanders Thomas Monckton and Gemma Tweedie bring a new wave of clowning to the Edinburgh Fringe

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Only Bones
© Aurélia Tassafi

Move over Bobo there's a new type of clown in town. Gone is the squeaky red nose, oversized shoes and squirting flower, and in their place is an exquisite display of physical theatre with only a hanging lamp as prop.

New Zealander Thomas Monckton is a master manipulator, through perfectly executed micro movements of his limbs and digits he presents a body that is at conflict with itself. His hands bicker - one of them wants to become a foot - his head refuses to stay where it should, he brilliantly contorts his face like an unfinished Madame Tussauds waxwork.

As Monckton's hands seemingly detach themselves from his body, wiggling and pulsating, they become a living, breathing aquarium of exotic sealife, coral and jellyfish, and the piece becomes almost hypnotic. Here's a guy basically just playing with his hands, but the end result is much more than that. It's calming, at times disconcerting and often very funny - especially when he creates hybrid animals by combining their noises.

On the surface it seems like there's not much to Only Bones; a chair, a lamp and a circle painted on the floor. But Monckton uses these low aesthetics to provide something that feels all-encompassing, and I could have watched it for a lot longer.

Only Bones runs at 20.30 at Summerhall until 28 August (not 8, 15 or 22)

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