The Chipolatas

Review in Issue 15-1 | Spring 2003

It's Saturday lunchtime and in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, a sizeable audience of all ages, sitting on the floor, standing at the back, perched on tables, has gathered to watch The Chipolatas perform. And here they come, three young lads, whose show combines juggling, music, clowning, a sprinkling of acrobatics and a soupçon of clog dancing. Let's face it, they're not going to win any prizes for deep meaning, but it doesn't matter. What they have in spades is that quality of the best street performers, a relaxation and complicity with their audience, which allows them to look as though they're making it up as they go along whilst, in fact, their moves are precisely choreographed, and their asides have the precision of commedia lazzi.

What is intriguing is that by taking the genre of folk music and combining it with clowning, reminiscent of the relationships and entrees of classic circus trios – the intelligent yet fallible leader, the bumptious yet romantic follower and the zany, stupid drole – they've created a genre which is both contemporary and reassuringly old-fashioned.

Despite the somewhat constricted feel of the QEH foyer as opposed to the openness of the street, the three work in such harmony that they adjust their performance to suit these conditions with enviable ease. This clearly communicates itself to the audience and we willingly go along with the prescribed audience participation. Together with the performers we create a joyous and uplifting 40 minutes, a little break from the everyday routine.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-1
p. 26