Review – Slick

Feb 15 2013 | By More

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Steven Rae as Mr Biggar in Vox Motus' Slick. Photo © Andrew McGregor

Steven Rae as Mr Biggar in Vox Motus’ Slick. Photo © Andrew McGregor

Traverse Theatre
Wed 13-Sat 16 Feb 2013
Guest review by Irene Brown

Slick by name and slick by nature, Vox Motus’ outrageous and anarchic production arrives at the Traverse as a tremendous finale to this year’s Manipulate Festival.

The insistent beat of techno and a shady, blue-lit stage set the tone for this dark comedy, which was first seen at the Fringe 2008 and went on to win a Fringe First and the Technical Presentation award at the CATS.

Little Malcolm Biggar (James Young) – aged 9 – loves skateboarding and really needs a helmet. His parents, Steven Rae as half-man half-sofa Mr Biggar and Angela Darcy as failed operatic body-double Mrs Biggar, see him as no more than a nuisance who spoiled their romantic life of Toscan glamour.

Discovering that their toilet is a source of crude oil, the feckless parents ruthlessly send Wee Malkie to skateboard the world, sans helmet, to gather their profits. Perverted lip-licking landlord, Jerko Dreich (Harry Ward) and his secret assassin mother Mrs Dreich (Jo Freer) have other plans. It all climaxes on the war zone that is the shared tenement roof. Here, redemption ultimately, if circuitously, results in Malkie getting a helmet.

Grotesque, cartoon-like figures
James Young as Little Malcolm Biggar in Vox Motus' Slick. Photo © Andrew McGregor

James Young as Little Malcolm Biggar in Vox Motus’ Slick. Photo © Andrew McGregor

The inspired use of what might be described as “double puppetry” creates grotesque cartoon-like figures and brings them to real life. One actor plays the head and legs of a squat body while a second provides the arms. The effect is comic, just a bit unsettling and shows a tight, fast-paced team working together.

The no holds barred production is efficient, energetic and full of physicality. The actors have to take on the roles of the characters as well as doing this possibly unique form of puppetry and all this is done with enormous skill by the entire cast.

They also share the tale’s narration throughout so nobody takes a leading role, although Wee Malkie is most dominant. His hazardous road journey on the board is brilliantly and believably executed.

The ever changing and ingenious set by artistic directors Candance Edmund and Jamie Harrison morphs by the minute as wonders unfold like a giant pop-up book on stage. Their puppet design is amazingly manifest by Edinburgh based costume designer Anna Scatola.
Slick is rude and as crude as the oil that absurdly comes from the Biggar’s toilet bowl. Its unrestrained humour breaks taboos all the way and, while it may not always be in the best possible taste, it is wickedly funny.

Run ends Saturday
Running time 1 hour 10 mins.
Daily 7.30pm (Sat matinee 2.30pm)

Vox Motus’ Slick on tour:

13-16 Feb Edinburgh
0131 228 1404 Book online
22-23 Feb Aberdeen
Lemon tree
01224 641 122 Book online
26-27 Feb Kirkcaldy
Adam Smith Theatre
01592 583302 Book online
Tue 5 March Paisley
0141 887 1010 Book online
7-8 March Dundee
Dundee Rep
01382 223530 Book online
12-13 March Inverness
Eden Court Theatre
01463 234 234 Book online
20 March Peebles
Eastgate Theatre
01721 725 777 Book online
24 March Giffnock
Eastwood Park Theatre
0141 577 4956 Book online
26-30 March Glasgow
0141 552 4267 Book online
21-25 May Flintshire
Clwyd Theatr Cymru
phone Book online


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