Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Only Bones 1.0, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Born in New Zealand, trained at Lecoq in Paris and now based in Finland, Thom Monckton is indeed a blend of antipodean and European sensibilities.

Only Bones 1.0, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
Only Bones 1.0, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Only Bones 1.0, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh * * * *

Read his website or any interviews with him, and he comes across as a maverick surrealist allergic to a straight answer. All of this and more is incorporated into his shows, and they’re an absolute joy as a consequence.

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A masterclass in using a little to achieve a lot, Only Bones 1.0 takes place on a tiny stage surface of 1m2. Of course, while the space may be minimal, Monckton himself is in possession of a huge talent.

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With his face still obscured from view, it’s up to his feet and hands to entertain us. How something so simple can be executed so cleverly is the constant wonder of Monckton. During this early routine, not a single word is spoken, nor facial expression seen – yet his socks say it all.

When he finally steps into view, Monckton breaks his silence, but not for words – it’s time for a mash-up of strange animal noises, with suggestions from the audience welcome. Then, with a face seemingly made of putty, he manipulates his features and looks as surprised as we are by the results.

Monckton’s previous Fringe hits, The Artist and The Pianist involved space, set and props to help bring home the laughs. Here, he does it all by himself with – as the title says – only bones (and a fair bit of pliable skin).

Until 22 August