1960’s style action-adventure spy thrillers are a vanishingly rare thing these days. Suave and sophisticated spy action has been replaced with a much more brutal approach as special effects have become more accessible. The Voloz Collective’s The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much doesn’t have access to state of the art CGI as it’s stage show, but it does have the power to bring you into a world full of smoke-filled cafes, mad marketing men, mysterious strangers and tense action scenes.
Our story focuses on Roger, a Frenchman living in New York. He has a pretty routine live and then when something minor goes wrong, he finds himself catapulted into a world of international conspiracies, assassins and feats of daring do. This is convenient because the The Volloz Collective are a physical theatre troupe. This means that using only minimal props, the actors engage the audience through sound, acrobatics and exaggerated physical movement. Arms and hands are waved to give one the impression of a door opening, the actor crawls across the stage when the story tells us he’s on the roof of a speeding vehicle, everyone moves slowly when a bullet is shot and so on.
And it really, really works. Excellent and immersive, the audience finds itself drawn into this elaborate storytelling dance. The show is very physical (and boy do the actors get sweaty) as the Lecog trained actors move their story from one ridiculous situation to another. The tale itself is a spy-fi shaggy dog tale that would be the envy of shows like Man in a Suitcase, The 39 Steps, The Prisoner and The Man from UNCLE. The story serves to present us with another fun physical scene and the journey is so compact and well-choreographed the hour passes incredibly quickly.
The show is also quite funny. We have running gags and silly situations, but nothing that takes away from the powerful stage presence; it’s more Dangerman than it is Danger Mouse. The sound is also performed live and the musicians timing is fantastic throughout, which is no small feat. This is incredibly smooth, well thought out stuff.
Highly recommended, catch it at the Fringe or on tour in the UK if you can. It is available as part of the Edinburgh Fringe until August 29th 20222. Click here for more information.