It feels like David Bowie is stalking me. I say that because in the last few days by pure coincidence I’ve had to review 1986’s Labyrinth which starred Bowie and now Star Man, Kenneth Fall’s one-man circus show running in Smock Alley which takes its name from one of Bowie’s most famous songs. I don’t mean that David Bowie is actually stalking me. That I know of.
Just to be safe though, if I disappear mysteriously, avenge my death on David Bowie.
The show is a loose series of circus acts, clowning, juggling, dance and rope climbing held together by the story of Fall going on tour to earn money for his demanding family, doing a comedy gig at an arms convention in Tel Aviv, getting pushed off a roof by his own son and finally experiencing a vision telling him essentially that we are all the stuff that stars are made of. The actual circus performances are by far the strongest element of the show. Fall is a very engaging and physical performer (and one of the few men I’ve seen who can pull off a handlebar moustache) but the comedic material honestly felt a little flat to me. Maybe it’s because (as Fall says at the start) this was the universe’s premiere of the show, and with a little more polish and a larger, more engaged audience the gags might land with a bit more oomph. Not helping matters are some downright baffling staging choices. Why the need to address the audience with a microphone, especially in a space as intimate as the Boy’s School in Smock Alley? Why the flattened cardboard boxes on the stage floor?
The title of the show comes from an anecdote Fall tells early on about how he accidentally ruined a David Bowie concert and says that this show is partly an apology to Bowie. I assume Bowie’s forgiven him by now. But just in case, if Kenneth Fall disappears suddenly, avenge his death on David Bowie.
Star Man runs until September 12 at Smock Alley Boys School
The Unshaved Mouse
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