Don't Mess with the Dummies (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Don't Mess with the Dummies

credit: Ben Weinstein

Comedy capers with incredible stunts

With its international reputation already well established through the shows Trash Test Dummies and Splash Test Dummies, Australian company Dummies Corp is back with a third offering that's easy to recommend to audiences from the very young to the very old.

If it seems as though there's something of a production line feel to the way they turn out shows, it's because they've hit upon a perfect combination of slapstick physical theatre storytelling matched with thrilling circus skills performance.

This year's all-female crew of 'Dummies' are Ellen Henry, Maya Tregonning and Shona Conacher, playing a trio of Girl Guides on a camping trip for whom mishaps are inevitable. As is the way with theatre aimed at as wide an international market as possible, their story is told wordlessly through mime, gesture and the relentlessness of the physical tasks they set themselves.

When it comes time to set up the tent, for example, one flips a ready-constructed pop-up out of a canvas bag, while another finds only hula hoops in hers; undeterred, she builds a tent with them anyway.

Physical comedy segments like this, the defeat of marauding insects with silly string 'repellent' sprayed across the audience, and – most impressively – an ingenious sequence where the trio use their sleeping bags to become a chorus of Tremors-like monsters serenading us with 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight', would be enough for many shows in themselves. But when the circus skills kick in, this show is elevated to a whole new level through breathtaking manoeuvres involving those hula hoops, as well as juggling, acrobatics and more.

An easy but purposeful character comedy show, with singularly incredible stunts, the Dummies' latest appearance at the Fringe is recommended on every level.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug (not 19), 11.20pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50).

Don't Mess with the Dummies

  • 4 stars

Underbelly and Dummies Corp Following the global smash success of the multi award-winning Trash Test Dummies and critically acclaimed Splash Test Dummies, comes Dummies Corp's all-female circus sensation Don't Mess with the Dummies. Lions, tigers and Dummies, oh my! Set up camp and stampede into the jungle for an…