@ Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, until Mon 31 Aug 2015 @ 17:30
This was a late addition to the reviewing schedule, with an expectation that a technical drum show may be something of a niche interest. It was thus surprising to say the least, to see the crowd for the Pleasance Forth winding right round the building. Those people were obviously better informed about the nature of the show.
Fills Monkey are two Frenchmen, Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Coste, who are undoubtedly virtuoso drummers, but there is so much more to the Incredible Drum Show. Their understanding of each other is total; when playing the same rhythm it is with immaculate synchronicity. When they go for something more syncopated and off-kilter, they complement each other perfectly.
Then the clowning starts: spinning of sticks, exaggerated facial gestures, and wild displays of one-upmanship. Beyond their mastery of their instruments, they are adept physical comedians and the show is as much theatre as concert. The pacing of Incredible Drum Show is cleverly weighted. Gil Galliot’s stage direction allows for moments of calm—even silence—which is very interesting, and never lets the show become dull.
The show is peppered with moments of outright wonder and joy, such as neon bass drums, and glowing tubes that sound different notes when they are bashed against the ground or the heads of audience members. Amidst the laughter, one can pick out Summer Loving, and Another One Bites the Dust; the recognition drawing applause from large sections of the crowd.
This is show that begins with nods of appreciation and ends with delighted grins and a deserved standing ovation. Rambaud and Coste are a wonderful double act, and Incredible Drum Show is overflowing with humour and invention, from the first hiss of a hi-hat to the last cymbal crash. For those interested in the musicianship, this is heaven; for those who want spectacle and theatre, it delivers in spades (and sticks, table-tennis bats, tennis racquets, and massive glowing tubes) too.