Silent Laughter: The Rondo Theatre Company, 12 November 2010.

The Rondo is different. The audience is different from mainstream Bath as are many of the productions. Thank goodness. Silent Laughter is a great example of this. Silent movie mayhem produced live. This version was first seen in New York, off Broadway in 2004 and this seems to be the English premier. As someone who finds Chaplin as funny as toothache I approached it with caution. But no caution was needed. This was a full blooded, relentless, very inventive silent hoot, held together by brilliant pianist Vaughan Hill and, of course, the cast of quite a few playing even more parts.

Naturally there is a hero, Tim Thornton brilliant as the ever present Billy, and a superb villain, a sinister version of Groucho, Lionel Drippinwithit, played to the hilt by Steve Huggins.But the cast were all great and the silent version of Danny Boy almost a showstopper.The backdrop is on a screen as are the few words.

Somehow, in between the silent movie routine, there were real surprises and naturally it all ended happily with a custard pie scene, but even that cliché event raised laughs and a great closing ovation from the enthusiastic audience. The laughter wasn’t silent.

Philip Horton – Bath Chronicle.

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