Having toured his Drop & Roll Live show all over the globe for the past five years, acclaimed trials cyclist Danny MacAskill brings it to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year. Alongside fellow biker Duncan Shaw and BMXer Alex Coleborn, MacAskill delivers a stunt-packed performance that sees the lads pull off some truly impressive tricks on two wheels – and sometimes with just one.
The whole show is tied together by compere Henry Jackson, an extreme sports commentator who doubles up here as a larger-than-life clown charged with introducing the acts, talking us through the programme and whipping up the crowd into an enforced frenzy every five minutes or so. The old chestnut of blaming a failed trick on insufficient decibel levels is a functional live-performance hack, but incessant American-style cajoling into showing enthusiasm does grate a little.
To be fair to the riders, failed tricks are in short supply here, though. The actual stunts are clearly the show’s biggest (and perhaps only) attraction, with Jackson’s mildly annoying antics nothing more than window dressing. Landing incredible jumps and generally showing off astonishing command of their cycles gives us an insight into MacAskill and Shaw’s skills, while Coleborn’s addition injects some welcome high-octane energy into proceedings.
In fact, his exploits on the halfpipe might well be the show’s highlight, and the fact that MacAskill injures himself in the attempt to pull off one particular stunt shows the danger inherent in their profession. They’re gifted bikers and excel at what they do, and the enthusiasm with which their heroics (and the plentiful freebies) are greeted by the younger members of the audience highlights how the show could be instrumental in turning a new generation onto the sport.
Indeed, it’s this younger demographic that MacAskill and co are aiming for with their extravaganza. Make no mistake – this is a kids’ show. Adults will certainly marvel at the technical skill of the riders’ accomplishments, but they’ll also be savvy to the unpolished nature of the programme and the hammy tone of its set-up. With that in mind, don’t mistake this family-friendly crowd-pleaser for anything other than what it is and you’ll have an excellent time of it.