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Review: PAINTING BY NUMBERS, Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Bristol-based company Dumb Found Theatre bring a laugh-out-loud comedy to Camden Fringe

Review: PAINTING BY NUMBERS, Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Review: PAINTING BY NUMBERS, Lion & Unicorn Theatre All artists must think they're better than anybody else - even if only by a little bit - or they must be convinced they have something to say, at least. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing it. "The work has to come first", even before personal relationships. That's what Isaac and his two friends Piotr and Damien believe. It's a recipe for disaster and Painting By Numbers turns it into a hilarious catastrophe.

Dumb Found Theatre stage a ferociously funny tale of friendship and artistic inclinations. Aaron May, Jacob Aldcroft, and Joe Topping are the trio of peculiarly inadequate painters who are meeting regularly in a studio. They're serious about their art, their craft, and, most of all, their methods.

They also have uncompromising ideas on what art is, what it means, and what it takes to be a real artist. Their amusing traumas are slipped in unassumingly, and what follows is a refined and polished style of slapstick comedy. Silly dance routines set to aggressively lively music are the most tame features of the play, which is collaboratively devised by the three.

It's when the real paint comes out that everything kicks off properly and the stage becomes an uproarious version of a Wild West stand-off. They get messy and the audience revels in it. The contest to establish whose method is the best ends after plenty of sabotages (and even barking Damien at one point), obviously crowning their bond as the true winner.

While the piece doesn't reach the 60 minute mark, their characters are given enough time to carve a place in their audience's hearts. Isaac's daddy issues and pretentiousness match Damien's cheating wounds, while Piotr's general awkwardness and adorableness (with a dash of language barrier for good measure) are the glue that keeps them together.

Besides being good-hearted, joyous, and laugh-out-loud, the show is also exceptionally wholesome. Their physical and visual comedy is on point and the production never sees any slumps or clichéed banter. The company's own kind of humour is a great addition to this year's Camden Fringe and we can't wait to see what's next for them.

Painting By Numbers runs at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 28 August as part of Camden Fringe.

From This Author - Cindy Marcolina