Fringe Review: Snakes Pretending to be Seat Belts

A cross between the Mighty Boosh, Alice and Wonderland and Jurassic Park, Australian comedy duo Gravity Boots will make you question your sanity


Meet utterly absurd Aussie comedy duo Gravity Boots, who perform series of outlandish sketches, which will boggle the mind if even a fervent absurdist comedy fanatic. 

It’s the sort of show that would leave everyone, including Lewis Carrol, scratching their heads.. and you’d expect nothing less from a show directed by the comic god of strangeness, Paul Foot, the very man who almost had several first years hospitalised with fits of hysterics during his show in freshers week 2012 – I won’t even attempt to explain what happened in that show. I doubt I will have much luck with it here either, but here goes… 

The long and winding climb up the spiral staircase into the turret of a mock-medieval building where the show was held, put the audience into a state of curiosity and mentally prepared us for a session of unrestrained mind-bamboozlement. My inkling that this would not be a conventional comedy sketch was cemented when the two comedy hosts made their grand entrance onto the stage with an awkward forward roll through the curtains and stood facing the audience, clad in floor-length black kimonos, fixing us with a solemn, illegible expression. What ensued was a series of off-the-wall sketches sharing no perceptible common theme, but which somehow made sense as a whole. The duo made an appearance as moronic American mermen, before morphing into two crazy German inventors, a pair of medieval heretics who worship a wooden doll called Cider, before being reincarnated as two sexually-disorientated blind female geese (my personal favourite).  

As the scenes were propelled headlong, deeper and deeper into the territory of the absurd, it became more and more impossible to resist being sucked into this cauldron of insanity.

Though the amateur nature of the performance is part of its charm, there are times when these elements of the production let it down. The pair do at times look like two university students that have just discovered the concept of fancy dress. The guitarist who accompanies the performers is a good touch, helping to smooth transitions and heightening the drama between sketches. But dressed in normal clothes, he seems detached from the performance and more like an audience member watching from the sidelines than one of the performers.  Inconsistencies like this prevent it from being a fully professional show. 

However, there’s no doubting the uncommon talent of the Gravity Boots duo. Their delivery is flawless, and their material is, well, like nothing you’ll have ever heard. You’ll come out seeing more than just snakes pretending to be seat-belts. You’ll see sequiny mermen, weird god effigies, and much, much stranger inexplicable forms. If you’re anything like me, you’ll never want to leave. 

Until 26/08, 5.15pm, at The Gilded Balloon, 13 Bristo Square, EH8 9AJ


  1. 19 Aug ’13 at 3:33 am

    Pauline Cleggett

    It was great to read your review – cleverly and honestly written. I am reading this review in Australia and have not attended the Edinburgh fringe. We have seen Gravity Boots in Australia a very talented duo, who have been prolific in their writing of sketches. We saw last year’s show in Edinburgh (not as absurd) but unbelievably good with amazing songs like Fist Sandwich, Mexican Gheko and Fuck the Pelican. They had two stand-out skits, the Goat and The Leopard in the Zoo and the Library and the Internet Cafe. We loved reading your review a great way of imagining the show in Edinburgh.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Pauline, glad you enjoyed the review. I hope you get a chance to see them again in the future!

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