Fishbowl – Pleasance Courtyard

Written by Pierre Guillois, Agathe L’Huillier and Olivier Martin-Salvan

Directed by Pierre Guillois

Runs at Pleasance Courtyard from July 31st to August 26th (not 14th), 13:00pm

You ever have those days where nothing goes right? Ever have one of those lives where everything just goes to hell? That’s the lives of these accident-prone, chaos attracting neighbours. They have my life; they have your lives, but with added rabbits. With an air of Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin, Fishbowl shapes up to be a timeless piece of physical comedy.

We all have our personal spaces, our very own little fishbowls. If you’ve ever lived alone – you’ll recognise yourself. Any familiar with Mischief Theatre’s “…Which goes Wrong” series of productions will see familiar aspects in the design of Fishbowl. It does, however, have a unique angle with each trick or chaotic collapse. Nothing is safe, certainly not the kitchen sink as every nook and cranny could turn foul at any given moment.

Writers Pierre Guillois, Agathe L’Huillier and Olivier Martin Salvan create pure mayhem without a word of dialogue. Their performers, expressive to the extent of cartoonish, do an incredible job with the highly technical production, never missing a cue and covering any slip-ups rather meticulously.

Fishbowl owes itself to those beyond their onstage cast. Its construction, when you examine, is as beautiful as it is ingenious. Each box, smoking-pan, seagull and window have a place, both for mise en scène but vitally, it might just be the source of a gag. Laura Leonard’s set design separates the three with striking colour palettes, achieving a sense of magic within the confines of these realistic sets.

There’s an odd mix of playing safe before hammering down the full throttle. When pushing their limits, Fishbowl will fill the Pleasance with roaring laughter. Where its strength lies is uncertainty, its surprise and punchline – not in its build-up.

Rarely is your finale punchline the strongest, but Fishbowl pulls it off spectacularly. It ticks every box in the humour catalogue, and without giving the game away, if it puts you off, you most likely haven’t found your sense of humour yet.

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