Gamarjobat 2013 Reviews
It doesn’t feel like the Fringe if you haven’t seen Edinburgh regulars and mohawk-sporting Japanese clowns Gamarjobat – even if it’s just doing their shopping on Nicholson Street. It’s one of those rare Fringe shows where it really doesn’t matter how old you are and be warned, regardless of age you’ll be encouraged to join in. That said some of the more inquiring of children’s minds may have a few questions for mum and dad afterwards; as with all the best shows for kids it’s got the right level of cheek with a fair few bum, fart and willy gags.
Barely uttering an intelligible word the besuited pair use mime, magic and tomfoolery to showcase a pretty tidy hour of great fun. There are a few obvious joke shop magic tricks that they unapologetically give away and a few routines your dad’s probably used before now but of course it’s far, far slicker.
And don’t think you’re going to get away with not getting involved en masse either, it’s amazing what power a silently pointed finger and disapproving look hold.
The hijinks of this mohawked duo Ketch and Hiropon from Japan make for an hour of hilarious fun for all the family or anyone just looking for some light-hearted humour. Gamarjobat are known at the Fringe for their popular performances of mime, physical theatre and general shenanigans. Having come back to the location of their big break after five sell-out runs, this year they have pushed their ambitions even further to include rock n roll in their repertoire – a challenge for any mime. The pair are perfectly in sync and irresistibly childish, and this genuinely funny act will have you in stitches all the way through.
tw rating 5/5 | [Alice Harrold]
Success abroad has made this Japanese physical duo bigger names on the international festivals circuit than they are at home. But what’s such a joy about their largely wordless capering is how much sense it makes to all ages, all nationalities, all creeds — yes, even the have-no-time-for-mime creed. They don’t need words to chide us for our ho-hum applause when they come on – they can mock our apathy using gestures and grunts, playing two halves of the crowd against each other. From then on we are in thrall to the playful rivalry between Ketch! (dark suit, red Mohican) and HIRO-PON (dark suit, yellow Mohican), who act like two naughty brothers with firsts in clowning.
There are other acts around who might be able to match their mime skills: their sword-swallowing, their Jagger dancing, even (most blissful of all), their escalator routine. What Gamarjobat (“hello” in Georgian) offer is speed and a lightness of touch – so it’s their attitude that hits you, not their technique. They can sword swallow, but they’d rather have fun first pretending that they can’t. They can do magic tricks, but they’d rather have fun making it obvious that it’s false hands and feet and (even) bottoms they are chopping off. And when they start pantomiming, they do so with such conviction that several of the children in the crowd desperately shouted out helpful instructions: “He’s on your back!”
Shame that they end with a rock ‘n’ roll routine the length of an Allman Brothers album track instead of the length of a single. The overextended finale aside, though, this is wordless showmanship to shout about.
In the Mimelight
The explosive duo Ketch! and HIRO-PON all the way from Japan are set to blow audiences away with their furious and action packed show Rock On!.
This pair are unquestionably among the best physical theatre performers in the world. You can tell they have honed their craft as street performers; without the luxury of a captive audience they’ve learnt to work furiously to ensure the energy does not dip for a second and the crowd is enthralled from the word go.
Dressed to impress in sharp suits, sunglasses and sporting outrageous brightly coloured mohawks these masters of mime build perfect illusions and then shatter them just as suddenly. Mischievous robots, invisible stairs, energetic games of hide and seek crowd the stage. They take universally understood mime tropes and bend them to their will; redefining them and giving the genre new life and energy.
It was magical to watch these exceptional performers at work. They had the 500-strong audience in the palm of their hand within seconds. Gamarjobat speak the universal language of mime. Words are not necessary as the pair communicate effortlessly with an audience who understands every action. En masse you will be inculcated with delivering Gamarjobat’s stunts. And you’ll be thoroughly delighted. The show has no age limits; the young and the old are equally captivated. You could not have believed such perfectly synchronized audience participation was possible until you’ve been in a Gamarjobat show.
This was an exceptional five star performance for the first three quarters of their show, as the duo conducted their polished and exceptional routine. Then returning for an encore, the pair changed tack – out came microphones and guitars, and the gig switched into a comical karaoke-like performance. While it was fun, it lacked the punch and the professionalism of the first part of the show.
Despite this, the pair will no doubt they will be playing to packed out performances for the entire Fringe. Get a ticket while you can!
It’s been a while since Japanese physical comedy duo Gamarjobat were in town, but thanks to a recent online profile, as well as us who loved them last time, downstairs at Komedia was packed. Delightful, immersive, playful, impish, virtuoso audience conductors – the mohawked pair were all of these things, pinching my cheeks with laughter and grins of childish enjoyment. The first half of the show saw them warm up the crowd with familiar routines, handing out lollipops to those giggling individuals in the crowd called upon to help out and issuing yellow cards football ref style to those stepping out of line. The second half explored a new musical side to their foolery and sharp mime, and although it wasn’t as tender as last time’s ‘The Boxer’ routine, had us all in that feelgood place so many acts strive for but few achieve the magic of taking an entire room there. Well done Gamarjobat.