We went to see Tricicle tonight. This is part of the Otago Festival of the Arts, and consists of three Spanish mimes (who occasionally speak or make noises): Eduard Méndez, Antonio Del Valle, Fedor De Pablos. These aren’t the original three guys, apparently, but members of a sister company that tours internationally. I’m not entirely sure that I understand how it all works, even after reading the info on the website, but the original three members are still working together after thirty years, and still producing new shows on a fairly regular basis.
What we saw tonight, I think, is some of the best sketches the original company produced. If these three guys are the originals, they’re certainly well up to scratch, and their performances are top notch. They had the audience in fits from the very beginning, and there was little respite at any point afterwards.
There’s lots of interaction with the audience, so it was worth being downstairs. Apparently the people upstairs missed a lot of went on in the stalls, where newspapers were tossed back and forth between the performers and the audience, or people were picked out for a boxing match, or a pretty girl was invited to blow kisses, or some people supposedly upset one of the performers and was given dirty looks for ages afterwards.
The highlight is the skit with the three dressed as babies, in nothing but floppy and possibly poo-filled nappies. They totter around the stage threatening to fall over constantly, and their arms flap around in a fairly useless fashion. They play with a giant size ball, knocking each other over, or themselves, and in general create chaos with the minimum of material.
In other scenes all three are boxers in the same ring, or two are tennis players trying to hit a ball that’s actually connected to a long rod held by the umpire, or their three hoons trying to work out how many things they can do with three toilet seats, or a couple of them are airhostesses on a rather dodgy plane (that was when the newspapers got thrown everywhere, the audience joining in with delight). There’s a long sequence in a dentist’s waiting room that builds up more as each one of the cast comes in. There are some props in this: a metal lamp that each of the cast gets their head caught in at some point, and is later used for a variety of other less lamplike purposes; a couch that insists on making rude noises when sat on, and an armchair that apparently has no seat, so that whoever sits in it almost vanishes. There’s a very supple coat rack as well.
But often there’s hardly a prop in sight. The three have utterly flexible bodies, and faces, and do most of what they make us laugh with, with these alone.