Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin

07/10/2008 - 08/10/2008

Otago Festival of the Arts

Production Details

The Otago Festival of the Arts is excited to present the New Zealand debut of this hilarious comedy show from Barcelona. Without the use of words three of Spain’s great comedic actors perform a series of riotous skits, which have had audiences the world over rolling in the aisles.

Their contagious humour based on everyday situations, has an off-the-cuff quality that delivers a belly laugh almost every twenty seconds. Tricicle is a wacky show for all ages that offends no one. Be prepared to laugh until it hurts. Tricicle is family entertainment at its very best. An ideal school holiday treat.

"Like the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen or Jaques Tati they make the whole world laugh. Some of these parodies are simply the stuff of legend."
Le Figaro

"Brilliant, original and extremely funny."
London Daily Telegraph (London)

"It’s originality, its verve and the artistry of its members give delight. It has a contagious exuberance."
Variety (New York)

2 hrs, incl. interval

Toddlers hilarious

Review by Barbara Frame 09th Oct 2008

TRICICLE is a trio of lithe Spaniards who have developed their own style of comedy. Their show consists of a series of skits performed without words, although not without sound.

Part of their appeal is that while a wide range of stories and situations are portrayed, some instantly recognisable and some less so, their approach has the child-like innocence of the great comedians such as the Marx Brothers or Jacques Tati.

The show opens with a tennis game that gets out of hand when the ball won’t conform to the ordinary laws of physics. Among the other sketches, my favourites included three men in a waiting room having adventures with malevolent furniture, three couch potatoes so bored that they order three toilet seats from a television commercial and then proceed to demonstrate all the zany things you can do with a toilet seat, and an overweight fellow whose exercise bicycle transports him to a Tour de France adventure. Funniest of all is the final sequence where the trio become toddlers in nappies: their uncertain totterings on legs that manage to look tiny and unreliable are hilarious and touching.

The only problem, from the point of view of people sitting in the circle, was that the performers often migrated to the downstairs aisles, leaving upstairs patrons disappointed at not being able to see, and tantalised by howls of delight from below.

Tricicle’s humour pokes fun at human pretensions and idiocy and will appeal to anyone of any age. The final performance will be tonight.


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Rocking with laughter

Review by Terry MacTavish 09th Oct 2008

The huge front page photo in Tuesday’s Otago Daily Times shamelessly shows the world what Tricicle is all about – three adult men in giant nappies leaping high above the city. They’re from Barcelona, which of course explains a lot, but Dunedin has taken them to its bosom: in just two nights over two thousand people have thronged to the Regent to witness their antics.

This comedy troupe comprises three exceptional Spanish comedians, Fedor de Pablos, Eduard Mendez and Antonio de Valle. Their company, founded by Carles Sans, has toured the world for thirty years with its own brand of mime-based skits, a mongrel blend of slapstick clowning and theatre of the absurd.

Because their work is mime-based, language is no barrier, and judging from the audience, neither is age. Despite the distance between them and the back row, the performers seize every chance to interact with the audience, provoking gales of laughter as, for instance, they saunter the aisles dressed as air hostesses, indifferently tossing newspapers at the ‘passengers’, who begin to retaliate by chucking them back.

Some of the skits parody the sillier rituals of various sports – tennis, boxing, cycling – with fairly predictable comedy garnered from missed swings, accidental wallops, leapt nets or ropes, and pratfalls of every conceivable sort.  The performers are amazingly flexible, and their comic timing spot-on.

It is satisfying to have the opportunity to enjoy the physical skill of this company, just to focus on the actors’ bodies, even though the large stage of the Regent, with minimal set, might swamp lesser personalities. But then again this very stage was host to the legendary Marcel Marceau within memory, and these mime artists are surely of his progeny.

My preference is for the sketches that rather more subtly reveal the absurdity of contemporary social situations. One of the most successful of the latter, set in a dentist’s waiting room, has echoes of Pinter’s The Birthday Party or The Caretaker: there is a sense of inexplicable threat in the way the patients menace each other. Think Mr Bean plotting to reach the head of a queue, with no guilt about whom he might humiliate or harm in the process. Even the few items of furniture are malevolent. Each patient in turn does hilarious battle with a chair so low they disappear into it, a lampshade positioned so as to bang them on the head, and a sofa that emits embarrassing farty noises, Reginald Perrin-style. Never underestimate the perversity of things, nor yet humanity’s capacity to senselessly torment its fellows.

Best of all is saved for the end: Tricicle‘s much-anticipated toddler sequence. It is worth waiting for. The nappies follow the clowning rule: every garment too big or too small. One is pulled up too high, one too low-slung, little legs poking weedily out, while the actors’ gait in these cumbersome diapers is quite perfect, as they wobble unsteadily, arms flapping excitedly, after an enormous beach ball. Their expressions are intensely and touchingly serious: puffed-out cheeks and wide innocent eyes; and their looks of baffled dismay when the ball, returned by the helpful audience, overshoots them, has everyone rocking with laughter.

Cool Festival choice, McBryde!


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