Originally written for Theatre Bristol Writers
‘A tumbleweed silently rolls across the dusty stage… The clink clink clink of spurs echoes throughout the theatre… The saloon door opens with a long, drawn-out creak… Welcome to Kidneystone’
Kidneystone is a place where the characters are many, the adventures are aplenty and where idiocy is an art form. From the moment you enter the building Le Navet Bete embroil you in their plot to save the town of Kidneystone from outlaws, a corrupt mayor, a likeable yet naive sheriff and fulfil their ultimate mission to find the true hero of this land.
The action is non-stop from start to finish, fast paced, high energy and demonstrates physical theatre and slapstick comedy at its best. The audience is essential to the performance and we continually share the joy, jubilance, despair and confusion that the fools experience. Le Navet Bete are relentless in their enthusiasm and the performance is choke full of hilarious, ridiculous and occasionally squeamish fall-down-and-get-up-again moments, including the adventures of a guy with a beard in a tin bath, extreme line dancing, the three amigos, several deaths/near deaths/life after death experiences , something quite dramatic involving adverting a runaway train and a subsequent marriage proposal. Its fair to say ‘ Once Upon A Time In A Western’ doesn’t just take you to the saloon, -you’ll leave feeling that you’ve drunk the tequila and swallowed the worm as well.
A notable thing about Le Navet Bete is the genuine pleasure they take in performing for us and with each other. Underpinning their non-stop madcap routines and clowning calamities lies a precise sense of complicity and comedic timing that is perhaps demonstrative of a troupe who have been working together for years rather than months and who ‘like to perform as much as is humanly possible’.
‘Once Upon A Time In A Western’ is a rollercoaster ride of colourful characters, confusing situations, dramatic happenings, comedy moments, in jokes, out jokes and everything in between. With a shambolic finesse, sublime ridiculousness and through relentless laughter they reveal the humanity and flaws in us all.
Go and see it. You are sure to see somebody you know.
Le Navet Bete are an Exeter based collaborative clown troupe whose members are responsible for all aspects of the company and its work.
‘Once Upon A Time In A Western’ is Le Navet Bete’s flagship production and is showing at Circomedia until Friday the 25th October.