Fills Monkey: We Will Drum You

10/08/22

Pleasance Courtyard (Grand), Edinburgh

Back in the day, I was one of those guys who liked to get wasted and hang out with musicians. You know? A drummer. So the idea of Fills Monkey really appeals to me. Two guys hitting the skins for an hour? Sign me up! But is that enough to fill an entire slot on the Edinburgh Fringe?

The answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ Sebastian Rambaud and Yann Coste are two brilliant percussionists, the kind of people you imagine could go through an entire day without ever breaking beat. They begin with conventional sets of drums, hammering out thrilling polyrhythms as the audience claps along. But they have an air of competitiveness about them and the stakes keep rising. Did you know that drums can be played with a whole variety of implements. Pan scrubbers. Hammers. Food mixers. A chain saw?

It really helps that the two percussionists are also accomplished clowns. Working under the direction of Daniél Briere, they’ve devised a show that switches back and forth through a whole series of scenarios, never lingering too long in one place to ever feel repetitive. Once the conventional drums have been battered into submission, there are synth drums to play with, voice recorders and a whole package of technical wonders that allow the two men to play entire rock songs just by hitting things. And it’s amazing how many classic rock songs can be identified by their beat alone.

The audience at The Grand are lapping it up – particularly the youngsters. (Seriously, if you have energetic kids along with you this is the perfect show for them.) The frenzy steadily rises to a suitably spectacular crescendo.

A final thought. If you’re suffering from the effects of a hangover, this might not be the best show for you – but, if you like your entertainment loud, reckless and super bombastic, Fills Monkey should definitely be on your ‘to see’ list. They promise to drum and and they do it with aplomb.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

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