MICF: The Kagools – Dressed for the British Summer

MICF The KagoolsWhat’s a Kagool? Wikipedia says it’s a “British English term for a lightweight (usually without lining), weatherproof raincoat or anorak with a hood, which often comes in knee-length.” Black versions of these worn as a uniform turn Nicola Wilkinson and Claire Ford from the UK into physical comedy team The Kagools.

This often-hyperactive pair run, dance, and stalk around a stage performing their wordless act. Their show Dressed for the British Summer is a cleverly silly, endearing gem of a show. It is likely to be an unexpected comedy festival highlight for many, especially those able to release their inner child.

When considering physical comedy, some who didn’t see acts like Lano & Woodley may recall I Love Lucy or The Three Stooges, and think of it as a less sophisticated form of humour. Well, put aside that prejudice. Through interacting with projections on a screen, some B-girl attitude and some other surprises, The Kagools bring clowning into the modern era.

The Kagools are willing and able bearers of the British comedy tradition of embracing nonsense. Here this delivered amusing unpredictability, as many of their scenes veered towards the absurd. They roped audience members into the action at various times, so viewers should be prepared for an immersive experience. Avoiding the front row won’t necessarily help you though. Although participants were subjected to the odd gross-out scene, it’s all done in good fun.

As Wilkinson and Ford flash impish grins or cartoon grimaces as they compete in games or for audience attention, we could think of this as a goofy performance. Beneath this though is sharp staging as they hit their many cues for the musical score or relating to the projector screen. The seamlessness of these transitions demonstrates that The Kagools have a very slick and well-drilled show.

Downstairs at Roxanne is a suitably intimate venue, however admission is limited to those 18+. This is most unfortunate as tickets are cheap, lots of children would have a great time, and the early timeslot will suit parents. There is (currently) only one chance to take the kids to an all-ages Kagools show at 4:30pm on Saturday 2 April at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Hopefully demand will be so strong that MICF will give the Kagools more opportunity to tap into a potentially large junior audience. If that doesn’t happen, so-called grown ups will find the combination of a $7 glass of shiraz and Dressed for the British Summer at Roxanne very enjoyable combo. I’d gleefully see it again. #FreeTheKagools

The Kagools – Dressed for the British Summer
Roxanne – Downstairs, 2 Coverlid Place, Melbourne
Performance: Friday 25 March 2016 – 7.15pm
Season continues to 17 April 2016
Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au

For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: The Kagools (supplied)

Review: Jason Whyte