Fishbowl is an award-winning French mime show, but don’t let that put you off. It is brilliant.
The set is a row of small apartments, seen in cross section. Each interior reflects the distinct character of its occupant: the obsessive compulsive businessman lives in sterile white minimalism; the scruffy hoarder lives in a mess of cardboard boxes; and the clumsy free-spirit has gone with Womb-Pink as her signature colour.
The show consists of short vignettes that combine slapstick, clever choreography and some impressively complex prop work. The apartments themselves are intrinsic to the comedy. In one brilliant scene a goldfish is accidentally dropped down a sink only to terrify a neighbour when it emerges in another flat. In another, an automated toilet provides repeated laughs and one absolute belter.
At first these sketches seem to share only a location, but over time we realise there is a simple but powerful narrative running through the whole piece. Each sketch reveals a little of each person’s character and their relationships with their neighbours. Along the way there are running jokes about a shared food cupboard, a wig, a karaoke machine and a mislaid bra.
There are touching moments as well: as romance enters then leaves each of their lives. Over time each character is changed by these events and their more excessive traits are reined in. The final scene demonstrates such empathy with its characters that I had to mime crying.
Fishbowl is hilarious, rich with ideas and emotionally rewarding. Please see it.
You can see Fishbowl at the Pleasance Courtyard until 26th August at 13:00. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com