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Review: The Umbilical Brothers: The Distraction at Assembly Roxy - Ed Fringe

Review by Lucy Holz


The famous Australian comedy duo have returned to Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their latest project, and this time it’s something a little different. Much loved by followers worldwide, the front row of the show I attended was full of fans, one even clutching a pillow with their faces on it.


The last time I saw this iconic partnership I was 13, and I couldn’t resist revisiting my past when I saw they were making the trek to Edinburgh this year. Masters of slapstick and physical comedy, The Umbilical Brothers are known for their ability to instantly create a world for them to play in.


Although they are typically sans elaborate set pieces and props, The Distraction is a new show all about technology. The stage is set with 2 green screens, 3 cameras, a couple of laptops and a projector screen, with their operator upstage manning the tech desk. Cords and props are strewn around, setting the scene for what will be a raucous hour of comedy.


As the audience file in, we are greeted by laughs from those already seated. Written jokes are playing on the projector screen, a little treat for those who lined up early. These one liners set the tone of the show, a night of wholesome fun suitable for the everyone in the family (as long as they don’t mind a little audience participation).


Using cameras and special effects to (lovingly) target audience members, no seat is safe in this show. You might be asked a question, shown on screen or even called up on stage to bulk out a crowd scene.


This new style of show plays into the role of technology in our ever changing world, while retaining plenty of the classic elements the duo are known for. We are treated to expert mime, puppetry and slightly less expert camera work.


As with any tech heavy show, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, and do. However despite consistent camera hiccups throughout the show, The Umbilical Brothers play into them, not letting them disrupt their fast paced flow.


If you are looking for a family-friendly show to take the kids to this festival, look no further than this Aussie double act. You’re guaranteed a laugh but be warned, there is a pretty high chance your head might explode.

Image Supplied

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