festkids Burgers’ reticence on certain subjects is matched by his near-silence on stage. Whilst other mute performers might cite artistic lineage stretching back to Buster Keaton or Joseph Grimaldi, Burgers claims it was a “totally unconscious” decision. When he started performing, he says, “it was just like, ‘okay, people are entertained, it’s been five minutes and I haven’t said anything, so I might as well just keep not saying anything.’” In any case, he points out, “if you see someone walking across the street alone (and silently), they can still be interesting, no?” Warming up again, he talks of being “captivated” by silent people in cafes, in parks. “You don’t have to talk to be interesting,” he says. “Because people are interesting.” Burgers says he never rehearses, so “everything is developed on stage, with the audience.” This means that you can never quite be sure what you’re going to get in any one gig, though of course there are set pieces that crop up each night.
As he was last year, he’s also joined onstage by a singing tiger. “He’s like my sidekick, and he’s my narrator, and he offers like a bridge between my silence and the kids.” This is in fact Australian thesp Stuart Bowden, taking a break from his grown-up Fringe show to dress up in a big stripy outfit and strum a ukulele. Apart from that, there’ll be plenty of wordless, knockabout humour and mildly uncomfortable audience interaction. But one thing there hopefully won’t be is boredom. “I don’t want to be like (he adopts a mock sincere tone) ‘Oh, you know, I’m working on a kids’ show, the kids are very important.’ I don’t care about that, and I don’t think they do either.” Instead, he repeats, he just wants to play. “It’s just an hour for them to see someone, an adult like their parents, playing,” he says forcefully. “And based on their reaction, they’re into that.” f
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown And His Singing Tiger Assembly George Square
12:45pm – 1:35pm, 2–26 Aug, not 13, 20, £6 – £8
edinburgh festival preview guide 2012 fest 85
Published on Jul 15, 2012