High flying laughs and beguiling comic storytelling, Curtain Twitchen is a bold endeavour, combining comedy and circus, that pays off.
Comedian Aaron Twitchen talks about friends and dating whilst combing his patter with aerial silk acrobatics in Curtain Twitchen.
As mentioned in my Twelve Last Minute Edinburgh Fringe Picks, how Twitchen was going to combine aerial circus with stand-up comedy was certainly something intriguing that I couldn’t’ wait to see how if it works. So, now that I’ve seen it I suppose what’s the verdict? Well, it’s a little more complicated than “yes/no”, but I will start by saying that the show is still wonderfully entertaining and, most importantly for a comedy show, funny.
As mentioned before, the issues was always going to be how to combine the pacing of circus with that of telling jokes. One of the ways of getting around this is knowingly making a joke about how odd bedfellows these actually make. Let it not be said that Twitchen isn’t self-aware, and let it further not be said that he can’t capitalise on this to laugh out loud effect. As for the rest of the show, Twitchen certainly does his best to incorporate these aerial routines as least shoehorned as possible, using them to add a visual illustrate to parts of his story. But despite shrewdly incorporating the routines, it still disrupts the pace, and in some cases doesn’t quite have the impact that might have been intended.
It can be argued that these circus skits somewhat change the nature of the show. A stand-up comedian will fire out a high rate of jokes per minute, which is a bit difficult when you have earnest acrobatic interludes. Furthermore, the narrative arc of Twitchen’s comedy is surprisingly introspective and personal at points: albeit spiked with wonderfully barbed jibes and scathing laughs. To paraphrase, as a stand-up show, Curtain Twitchen is a bit awkward: it’s no a laugh-a-minute ordeal of your usual show. However, as a piece of comic storytelling it’s really quite engaging and beguiling. Therefore, it boils down to expectations of Curtain Twitchen. Those expecting a stand-up show might leave a little disappointed as it’s not as joke heavy as you’d expect. But if you go expecting a funny, sharp, and wickedly camp piece of storytelling, it really is quite lovely.
Twtichen’s campy confidence really carries the show. It’s loud, brash, but also fun, meaning it’s difficult for an audience to not be charmed. Furthermore, Twitchen’s rapport with the audience is also very responsive making you connect directly with his jokes and stories, and is actually what keeps you interested: moreso than the jokes.
As for Twitchen’s aerial silk skills, they’re not incredibly impressive if you’ve seen a lot of circus. But these are still carried out with skill, thought, and panache that, whilst nothing extraordinary, make these segments entertaining and impressive none-the-less.
Curtain Twitchen is a bold new upwards direction for comic performance that neither falls figuratively or literally flat.