Good on paper


Mimirichi - Paper World

This isn't the most sophisticated show on the Fringe and, strictly speaking, it is really a show for kids. But it is, without question the most enjoyable and almost impossible not to love unless misanthrope is your middle name. It starts behind a massive paper backdrop, as four clowns loom in silhouette. Soon they appear on stage and engage in a bit of conventional banter and knockabout comedy, with one of them - long hair, doleful face - clearly the stooge for the other's mischief. 

At one stage, one of the clowns tries to read a map, borrows a pair of glasses from a member of the audience, gives them back to the wrong person, and, in turn, gives their glasses to someone else and suddenly a good 16 people are trying to retrieve their glasses from complete strangers. Our mischievous hosts meanwhile have moved on with the show.

You can scoff all you like at fancy notions of breaking down boundaries between audience and performers, but when it works, there's truly nothing better, and there is no greater proof for that than Mimirichi.

By the time the clowns have ripped the set into vast armfuls of shredded paper and advanced towards the audience, it is clear what is to come and the audience is ready for what must be the biggest paper fight ever to have graced an auditorium. Later they will cower behind a paper goalpost as one clown arranges an impromptu penalty shoot-out complete with massive paper football and a goalie plucked from the front row.

At heart, Mimirichi celebrate the human capacity for playing - the clowns engage in several slapstick vignettes that celebrate the transformative powers of paper  (they use it to create horses, monsters, an Arabian belly dancer). One of them, meanwhile, develops a despotic appetite, and, dressed as a king, clambers through the audience throwing articles of clothing into his belly.

Beneath the fun and games there is something profound - and profoundly moving - going on, crystalised in the tremendous finale. Quite simply, the show's big heart puts you in touch not just with your own humanity, but with that of your fellow man.

Claire Allfree