It’s rather fitting that Anna Marie Simonsen and Marie Kallevik Straume’s Troll takes place in the Belly Laugh. Because that is what most of the crowd will be giving out by the end of the show. A bizarre, strange, and colourful clowning experience with a Scandinavian twist, Troll is a show that thrives off an audience who are game for everything and prepared for nothing.
Simonsen and Straume are queens of the ridiculous, bringing their Troll characters to life with all the sincerity and grace of intoxicated teletubbies. They are a sight to behold, their onstage chemistry and timing working to perfection, while every line and phrase feels specifically engineered to induce as many giggles as possible. A piece involving an audience member’s chair gets the biggest reception, upping the ante for silliness in a way that the rest of the show may not quite match, but they still set the bar mighty high.
The two trolls are fed up of being misrepresented and demonised, so set out to tell their own stories. This includes, among other things, a deep bond with a pebble and a retelling of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairytale from the troll’s perspective. Like many clown shows it can at first be a little hard to work out what you have walked into, but the personality of the performing duo quickly shines through. Director Cecily Nash orchestrates the action smoothly and with an eye for the ridiculous, staging movements around the venue with an unnerving and entertaining peculiarity. Eventually, Troll is too weird not to admire, and the whole room erupts with cheers and laughter often enough to conjure a real party atmosphere.
In Troll, wonder, joy, and weirdness are the order of the day. There isn’t all that much more to this show than some fooling around, and that is all it needs to send the audience into raptures. A unique and thoroughly amusing escape from seriousness, Troll is a warming and wacky thing to be a part of.
Troll runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Underbelly Cowgate – Belly Laugh at 17:50