The stage is set with a red chair and a low swinging lamp. A white chalk cycle has been drawn on the pitch black floor around the chair. The light goes off and turns swiftly back on again and now has a bright moody yellow glow. A man is awkwardly crouching on the chair. His body is slung forward and he is wearing bright white socks on his feet and another is pulled over one of his hands. After a long dramatic pause the socks start interacting with one another and the physical theatre begins.
Thomas Monkton knows how to make his body do weird and uncanny things. At the beginning of Only Bones the focus is on the hands. They interact with one another like small mischievous and curious spiders. The attention moves on to the head, then torso, then back to the hands, up to the voice and then we’re all over the place. The show looks at the body and how it can present animal nature with comedic and surprising effects. There is no real narrative structure to Only Bones. The performance is tied together using different elements of the body and the audience is taken on a journey. Rarely does a moment pass without belly laughs and giggles ringing around the Demonstration Room in Summerhall. Monkton contorts his body in way that amazes the eyes and can only produce laughter. He interacts with the hanging light to change his mood and style in a fine physical theatre performance.
Only Bones takes a while to get going, but when it does, it is funny, inventive and joyful. The show did feel a little short at only 45 minutes long, but throughout this brief time the performer gave his all and gauged the tone of a late evening Fringe show perfectly.