Manolibera (4 stars)

This article is from 2009


Clever cartoons for all ages

Although not strictly speaking a children’s show (it’s in the Dance & Physical Theatre section of the Fringe programme), this is a wonderful example of how a piece of theatre can cross the generational divide. Italian company, Scarlattine Teatro has brought together two distinct talents – character acting and drawing – and turned them into a seriously clever piece of fun.

Employed to change the transparency film on an overhead projector, a conference temp longs for something more creative to do. Armed with a few felt tips, his mind soon begins to wander – and before long, the officious conference speakers have shed their suits, and turned into an accident-prone couple on a day-trip. Standing in front of the large screen, the duo are completely at the behest of the pen-wielding cartoonist, who deposits them in one hilarious scenario after another.

Using a combination of on-the-spot sketches and pre-drawn cartoons, artist Michele Eynard makes life consistently difficult for his co-performers, Michele Cremaschi and Anna Fascendini – then saves them at the last minute. In the course of an hour, a few brief words pass their lips, but essentially the show relies on body language and a few well-placed sound effects. Floods, wild animals, horrible traffic jams and over-crowded beaches all plague the hapless pair as they search for peace and quiet. Happily for us, they never quite find it.

C Chambers Street, 0845 260 1234, until 31 Aug, 3.55pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£6.50–£10.50).


  • 4 stars

Actors interact with cartoon characters, scenery with drawings, dialogue with bubbles in this funny, original show from Italy. Breaks the barriers of language and age. Enjoyed throughout Europe. A unique visual theatre experience for all the family.