Jango Starr: One Man Shoe (3 stars)

Jango Starr: One Man Shoe

Gentle clowning has little ones in stitches

We’re ten minutes in, and so far all Jango Starr has managed to achieve is hanging up his coat and hat, and pulling on a janitor’s overall. Keen to tackle the rubbish-strewn stage, he picks up a broom and sets to work – but I’m starting to wonder whether a mop may also be required.

For sitting in the front two rows is a group of pre-schoolers in serious danger of having a wee accident – literally. Starr’s hat and coat capers have induced the kind of laughter that could easily challenge a 4-year-old bladder. No sooner has one howl of delight subsided than the next one comes along – and Starr’s broom antics are only making things worse (in a good way).

Never has something so straightforward looked so complicated, and it’s not just the little ones who are finding it amusing. Clive Andrews (aka Starr) is a master of old school clowning, and his buffoonery has placed a broad smile across all the adult faces, too.

But the borderline hysteria from the front row can only last so long before something needs to change – and once the narrative kicks in, One Man Shoe runs into a few difficulties.

It’s a simple enough tale: a lowly theatre janitor turns up for work, preparing the dressing room of the great magician, Fantastico. But when said entertainer fails to appear, Jango Starr is forced to go on in his place. When all of that is communicated without words, however, and key bits of information are written on signs, the non-reading pre-schoolers are left a bit in the dark.

Hence the show’s target age range of 5–10, although whether that slightly older crowd would find Starr’s slapstick quite so hilarious as the tinies is up for question.

There is no shortage of skill here, and the magic tricks – although lo-fi by today’s standards – are still impressive and often baffling. But after such an impactful start, Starr struggles to hold the audience in such a firm grasp for the remainder of the show.

Reviewed at Adam Smith Theatre, Kircaldy.

Jango Starr: One Man Shoe

Gerry Mulgrew directs this family show about bumbling theatre caretaker Jango. When the headline act fails to show, he's thrust into the limelight as he finds out his dream of transforming himself into a star. Silent physical comedy for all ages.