Gis A Shot Of Your Bongos Mister | Turn Around
Star Rating: 4/5
Turn Around: Gis A Shot Of Your Bongos Mister
REVIEW BY: David O'Shaughnessy
Brian Fleming is one well-travelled man. In his percussion based theatre piece, Gis A Shot Of Your Bongos Mister, Fleming recounts his 20 plus year love affair with the titular bongos and the cultural exchange that helped shape his life and saw him travel from the flats of Fatima to the depths of Senegal and back again. Effortlessly charming and instantly likable, Fleming recounts his story with ardent vigour, but is never preaching or self-indulgent. The players in his story are the stars of the piece, the communities he encountered and the people in them all come to life in an instant, and there's an air of Jack Kerouac to him. Fleming's narrative structure makes you feel like you're back in school and someone is telling you this great story about their summer, except there is so much more heart and nuance than a primary school child could convey.
In terms of music, Mr. Fleming is in his element. Surrounding himself with varying bongos and drums and other percussion instruments, he is completely comfortable and stunningly adept at creating layered soundscapes that so clearly evoke the locations he brings you to. And throw in some charming audience participation as a rabbling crowd and a chorus of frogs, and you can't help but be swept away into his world.
Unfortunately the piece suffers from the fact that Fleming has to contract 20 years of knowledge into a 60 minute narrative, and as such, elements and characters are simply touched on and not given the attention they deserve and demand, and his pace does move quite briskly to a point when the times and places of events gets a little clouded. There also seems to be a lack of purpose to the piece in it's fruition, whereby events are brought up to the most recent, but don't resolve themselves in any focused way. This is a story recited for the sake of reciting it because it's alternative, amusing and heart-warming, and although there is no clearly defined message, maybe Fleming's story doesn't need one. And maybe that’s the point.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 30th April 2012 | Theatre
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