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The Man Who Knows Everything review at Sweet Grassmarket, Edinburgh – ‘lively, fast, funny’

Kiki Kiki. Photo by Mr Suave

Almost every line brings a chuckle, giggle or squeal of hilarity from the young audience – and many adults too – as Kiki [mime artist Jack Stark] and Anna Larkin romp through zanily comic dialogue and clown-style storytelling from Aesop, Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, with Emperor’s Clothes the most engaging. They also puzzle over the world’s biggest and smallest birds, checking Kiki’s claim as The Man Who Knows Everything. Smelly socks, hats, plastic bones, giant clothes pegs and a dead crow are but few items from a voluminous props box given wondrous effect as the intrepid pair pursue their quest for the magical bird with the golden feather.

Deploying simple elements of physical theatre from tumbling to frantic searching among the audience, comical gestures, jumbled language and funny accents, this breathless laugh-making duo transform a tiny performance area into a magical imaginary realm of queens, emperors, knights – and sock guards with plastic eyes! Skilfully improvising around rehearsed key lines, plot themes and focal props, and with their sound collage from Kevin McLeod’s music a lively element, multi-talented Anna Larkin and Jack Stark create a fast-paced and constantly funny children’s show.

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Comedy duo clown-style storytelling of favourite children's fables