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Saturday 11 October 2003
Men In Coats @ Stanwix Arts Theatre
Men In Coats - on tour
Men in Coats

A little less conversation, a little more action...

Reviewed by Callum May, BBC Radio Cumbria.


BBC Manchester
Interview with Michael Dow, creator of Men In Coats.

BBC Collective
Review of Men In Coats.

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Home of Stanwix Arts Theatre.

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Mime and conjuring tricks are combined at a frantic pace in this unique comedy experience. Yet to call it 'mime' doesn't do justice to the modern pace and originality of the men in hoods.

It's Callum in a coat!
It's our reviewer, Callum, in a coat!

This parka-clad duo returned from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they debuted their full length show to sell-out audiences.

This year also saw them starring in The Live Floor Show on BBC Two.

The review
In front of raucous, late night Edinburgh festival fringers, comedians learn to deal with hecklers. The most successful of them keep an anti-heckle armoury of witty retorts that can shoot down an audience irritant in an instant. So it is to the credit of Men In Coats that they have achieved such acclaim, at Edinburgh and beyond, without uttering a word during the course of their act.

quoteMen in Coats will take you from a raised eyebrow to creasing up with laughter and if the gags don't get you their inventiveness and dexterity surely willquote

One is short, with sideburns and a pair of trendy specs; the other tall, white-haired and looking every bit like the teacher that always used to accompany the French exchange students on their visit to your school.

They dress identically in tracksuit trousers, t-shirts, suede shoes and pea-green parka coats, then proceed to spend fifty minutes causing mirth with the sort of physical animation that leaves you confused as to whether they were part of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

quoteThey redefine your expectations of what can be accomplished on a stage…
...the closing applause was thunderous

The choreography is near-perfect, the sort of stuff that Morecambe and Wise and Tommy Cooper weren't quite up to. With it and an assortment of props, they give their audience a fresh aspect on many examples of 1970s and 1980s film and TV culture: Superman; ET; 2001 A Space Odyssey; and even Roobarb and Custard.

Their movements behind the black curtain in the centre of the stage must be frenetic and drench their parkas with sweat, but it never shows.

quoteBreathtakingly imaginative… an overnight sensation!quote

In close-up illusionist mode, their visual gags are made funny even to those in the back row by their incredibly vivid facial expressions.

They end with some incredible daftness such as horses commentating on people-racing, and a brief homage to the Looney Tunes characters with a "That's All Folks" pose.

Having left audiences in Edinburgh, Melbourne and now Cumbria convulsing, it wouldn't be surprising if this pair now leads the world-wide charge toward the revival of Velcro.

Review by Callum May, BBC Radio Cumbria

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