Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Just the Tonic @ The Mash House, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 @ 15:20

Physical comedy duo The Kagools, a.k.a. Nicola Wilkinson and Claire Ford, raise a laugh purely by resembling a Goretexed version of 90s synth-ticklers Altern-8; so that was already a huge tick in their favour.

Two mute, cheerful characters, with expressive faces beaming from their hoods; they inhabit both the real world and, through the wonder of multimedia, a fictional on-screen one.  Both exist simultaneously, and much of the early comedy comes from the duo sprinting behind the screen, where they appear, with immaculate timing, in pre-recorded guise.

Throughout the show, the two vanish behind the screen and the audience is treated to a sketch or short film.  These not only form identifiable breaks between onstage skits, but probably allow the poor women a well-earned breather.  This is seriously high-energy stuff, brimming with wit and imagination.  The highlight of the entire show is an audience member crammed into a bear costume by the smiling pair and led behind the screen, upon which screens a chaotic picnic that is surely one of the outright funniest pieces of the entire festival.

The Kagools pitch their material perfectly for all ages.  The adults laughed just as heartily as the kids in attendance.  This kind of silent clowning is obviously centuries old; but The Kagools’ use of contemporary music, that wonderful screen and their simple-but-ingenious attire make it feel completely modern.

One skit involving the eating of confectionary lagged a little compared to the rest of the show, but this was really the only criticism – it’s difficult to maintain that level of intensity for a solid fifty minutes.  It soon picked up again and had a lovely and unexpectedly heart-warming ending that also expertly tied up a joke from much earlier in the proceedings.

One finds it hard to imagine another show at the Fringe quite as much fun as The Kagools.  Absolutely top-drawer.