Chapshtick (3 stars)

This article is from 2017


Nonsensical surrealism and the absurd merge with a bunch of fun stuff

This is an (almost) silent comedy performed by actors and clowns Simon Brown and Luke Nowell, which in part serves as a kind-of mediation on modern manhood and elsewhere simply features some fun scenes bolstered by a set of enjoyably absurdist ideas. They kick off with a skit where the pleasant, cultured guy never gets adequate female attention against the youthful and conventionally good-looking ones.

Travelling through a framing structure of various sketches featuring a running gag of sporting activities that get a bit out of hand, there's a visit to the barber's that produces too many combs. However, interspersed in between are diversions into more surreal territory, and the whole thing culminates in a nonsensical finale where the star is an unsuspecting audience member.

Like many at the Fringe of late, it's no surprise that this pair trained with Philippe Gaulier in his Parisian clown school. And they learned well, presenting neatly executed physical comedy, with their performances in each scene completely on the money. While they certainly know their stuff, overall the show is lacking in solid punchlines. Their quiet skits build up well but in the main the pay-offs are a touch weak. The most successful however is a wonderfully bizarre chess game where the pair teasingly play each other using a series of random objects, from a stuffed penguin to a shocking pink effigy of the Eiffel Tower.

On this reviewing date, there were a few issues with sound cues, but the pair dealt with it good-naturedly and carried on regardless; it only resulted in displaying their easy, familiar working relationship. Ultimately, this Chapshtick debut feels somewhat underwritten and would benefit from some reworking but an entertaining and pleasing hour still remains.

New Town Theatre, until 27 Aug (not 15), 4.10pm, £9 (£8).


  • 3 stars

Chapshtick Productions / Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Audacious and anarchic physical comedy and clowning from two loveable idiots who show us that being a modern man is a seriously stupid business. Join 21st-century flâneurs Luke and Simon as they wander through the chaos of their absurd imaginations – world class golfing…