Splash Test Dummies (Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows – The Lafayette, until AUG 27)

“Adults were grinning. Kids were grinning. Isn’t that what you want from a show?. Stars of the Fringe”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars  Outstanding

The last proper Fringe was 2019 – Gosh that seems a lifetime ago. That was the first Fringe my eldest daughter (now 8) really remembers. Since that carefree summer – the last summer we all enjoyed without worrying about the chap coughing behind us at a show – she has consistently talked about one show: Splash Test Dummies. My youngest who was too young last time round has been desperate to see what the fuss was (and remains) about.

I trotted off with the whole Marrs troop to revisit the Dummies. Would they be as good? Could they be as good? Would the youngest daughter (now 5) be similarly besotted?

Resounding yeses all round. Slapstick, silly, skilled, puerile, the works. Both of the girls were in hysterics at points, both whooping and hollering at points. Their highlight was me having a net thrown over me by one of the Dummies and called a ‘’pretty man’’.

For seasoned Dummies fans (we are in that ballpark), there are elements you’ve seen before: the ping pong ball scene, the smell travelling round the room and being thrown hither and thither. That isn’t a criticism! These are classics that kids love. And of course there is always the capacity to surprise. The act with the huge ring showed the gymnastic capacity of the Dummies – I’ve never seen anything like it before. I still don’t know how the Dummy manages it. The swimming hat gag is everything you’d want from clowns: silly, clever, and you never know quite where it will finish.

If you can’t enjoy a show where three men dressed up as lifeguards run around with the audience and spray each other (and you) with supersoakers then you probably need to re-evaluate your life.

The three dummies are seriously talented: acrobatics, gymnasts, smashing through the fourth wall atwill, physical humour, clowning, juggling and much more besides. There are moments where they lift each other in seemingly impossible ways. It might look funny but there is real skill there. To make it look effortless as these three do is quite something.

One minor quibble: the show seemed to start late. I think that was perhaps a technical issue. Nothing major but kids shows probably do need to start on time – simply because exasperated parents can only answer ‘’I don’t know when it is starting’ so often.

This is a show for kids but one adults will enjoy to. Under 10s will enjoy it enormously. Both of mine thought it fantastic. The younger said I should give it a ‘’googleplex’’ when I asked what the score should be. I had to look that up. The other a resounding 10 out of 10. Neither are compliant with our scoring system.

Adults were grinning, Kids were grinning. Isn’t that what we want from shows? The Dummies know their audience and deliver precisely what the audience wants. Joyous, wholesome stuff from the minute you meet the Dummies at the entrance through to chatting with them for photos afterwards. Stars of the Fringe and I’d guess it will be a sell-out run.


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