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Släpstick, HOME, Review

Home > Manchester > Theatre | Performing Arts | Family | Comedy | Christmas
by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. keyworthdavid@gmail.com https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-keyworth/49/b3a/b83
Event: -
Hit me with your rhythm stick
Expertly organised chaos is the closest I can come to summing up this roller coaster of a show by five performers from the Netherlands.

Släpstick is a high-octane cocktail of live music and physical comedy, which races along at the pace of a Helter Skelter.

HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


The entertainment is inspired by the style of comedy brought to the big screen by Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and others.

It even includes an extract from a Laurel & Hardy film and a recreation of the famous collapsing house scene from the Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928).

In the second half, the performers even provide musical accompaniment to their own short silent b/w film – The Lady and the Dog.


HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


There is not any narrative structure to the show. But the medley of playful set pieces is compelling, even without any connecting story-line to link them together.

There is a 'name that tune' dimension to the entertainment - at regular intervals, the performers re-emerge as a barbershop quartet, dressed in white suits and straw hats. They perform pop classics in Dutch, or was it German?

I wondered if the company could keep up their note-perfect musicianship whilst maintaining the non-stop physical comedy. And they did.

HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


The comedic energy level is maintained throughout the night. That said, the second half did have a slightly more melancholic feel, including a beautifully executed sequence of George Gershwin songs, including The Man I Love.

There is no dialogue - that is, if you do not count a street hustler (Jon Bittman) who talks like a vinyl record played at far too fast a speed. He weaved his way into the audience inviting us to fire at targets on the stage.

In one 'intervention', he offered younger audience-members a wooden gun – and his patter flew out faster than the imaginary bullets.

The young people in the audience seemed to lap up the madness and Släpstick , directed by Stanley Burlesonis, is one of the most exhilarating family shows I have seen. I would have happily sacrificed many pantomimes to see this show.

HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


The whole experience is like being trapped in a train carriage with a mad-as-a-box-of-frogs troupe of hustlers and buskers. It is just that, in this case, you would not be praying for them to leave at the next station.

Do not sit on the front row if you do not want to be invited on to the stage. Although, the audience interaction was done in a way, which avoided anyone being humiliated.

With The Producers raising the roof at the Royal Exchange, Manchester audiences have at least two chances to enjoy the cream of sophisticated comedy this Christmas.

HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


To see a trailer of Släpstick go to www.slapstick.nl/


HOME, Manchester, theatre, physical comedy, Släpstick, Amsterdam Artist Management, Christmas shows
Photo by Jaap Reedijk


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Why? Joyous stage show inspired by classic silent-film comedy
When: Thu 13 Dec 2018 – Sat 22 Dec 2018
Phone: 0161 200 1500
Where: HOME Tony Wilson Place First Street MANCHESTER M15 4FN
Cost: £10 – £24 (conc. available)
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