After a half an hour setup, I was hoping that Al Cubo would be something entertaining and spectacular. It was lovely, funny and wonderfully sentimental, but I felt a little short changed that the set up took longer, I think, than the show itself to play out.
Al Cubo was the final performance of the night, and the final performance of the festical, a sweet slapstick trio who appeared to be family – the big sister, the brother and the slightly dopey younger one – and an awful lot of buckets. To close the festival it was definitely the right choice, a light entertainment to lead into the awards and closing, with nothing but giggles and gasps ringing out across the audience throughout.
Betti Combo, the company presenting Al Cubo, is a circus trained act which relies on the physics of objects to bring its laughs. Though for any grown man or woman, watching a tower of buckets crumble should not be entertaining, something about it connects with one’s inner child, and leaves one gasping, giggling and cringing with second-hand embarrassment. Everything is deliberate, though, and without this deliberate consideration there would be no comedy. This trio rely on inch perfect timing, and millimetre perfect set-ups to provide the optimum fun, and they make light of it when it doesn’t quite go to plan.
As an opening act to a longer performance (the piece is a showcase of a longer version to be premiered early next year) Al Cubo is lovely, somewhat sentimental and filled with moments which get the audience on side. The trio knows how to bring an audience into the fold, and connect immediately in ways which cannot always be done with drama or abstract pieces, but are immediately tangible in comedy. As a bite-sized example of what is to come, Al Cubo is an enjoyable little distraction, and those interested in clowning and circus tricks should take note, because this is a master class in both.
The BE Festival ran in Birmingham from the 2-6 July 2013. It will return next year. For further information, please visit BE Festival website.