One Man Shoe review at Assembly George Square Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘well-rounded family magic show’
Magic and clowning are brought together in rounded narrative structure under Gerry Mulgrew's direction of Jango Starr in One Man Shoe. In this family show, Starr, the clown figure created and performed by Clive Andrews, arrives at work as a theatre caretaker to discover that the act, Fantastico, has disappeared – and ends up taking his place.
There are several layers of illusion going on here. Starr first going through his clowning paces as he tidies up the stage with plenty of knockabout dexterity, using implements that he makes have lives of their own.
More elements are introduced when he moves on to Fantastico's stage props, discovering a rabbit and many carrots. But a whole new level is added when Starr falls asleep next to the illusionist's frock coat and it comes to life, inhabiting his dreams, performing magic of its own volition and eventually imbuing him with the illusionist's arts.
Performed to Philip Pinsky's French-sounding music, Janis Claxton's choreography adds a grace and smoothness to the story. There is a real frisson of the macabre as the frock coat comes to life, too, good enough to disturb those under-fives. Although sharp eyes might note a few too many tell-tales to Starr's sleight of hand.