The Grand Theatre of Lemmings
Stilt Walkabout Act
Street Theatre Veterans, The Lemmings have performed all over the world with their comic, surreal stilt performances.
By 1986 the Lemmings had started touring internationally and played to audiences in Israel. In 1988 their international reputation developed further when they became on of very few British companies invited to perform at the World Exposition in Brisbane, Australia and at the Silk Road Exposition, in Nara, Japan. This led to numerous bookings in Japan during the following summers.
The Lemmings produced another three Stage Shows, which toured theatres and Arts Centres before deciding to concentrate on Rural Arts Touring. In recent years they have toured extensively in Britain's rural venues, to appreciative audiences and excellent reviews from the organisers. In addition, with an extra-ordinary track record behind them they are considered one of Britain's foremost Street Theatre companies performing at major British and European festivals.
There is also a strand of the Lemmings work which is peculiarly British and over the last eight years they have also worked extensively promoting Britain on behalf of the British Tourist authority though out Europe and on cultural exchanges between Lincoln and Alnwick and their European twin cities. More recently they have been touring for the British Council performing arts department.
Apart from touring theatres and festivals the Lemmings have been involved in many unusual theatrical productions. They have been regular cast at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East's Variety nights and performed at the Eros Party, Piccadilly theatre, London. They produced a silent comedy version of the 'Tell Tale Heart' as part of an evening of Edgar Allen Poe at the Purcell Rooms, South Bank. They co-produced "Boxes" a touring road show for the Glasgow City of Culture Festivities and collaborated with Avanti Display to produce the now legendary "Hydro-maniacs" a large-scale human fountain. They worked with the Mugon Geki Theatre Company on stage at the Honda Theatre in Tokyo and on the recommendation of the Singapore Arts Council they wrote and produced a special Christmas show for the Tiong Bahru Plaza.
THE OSTRICHES RIDERS
This was one of the lemmings first stilt acts. It has proved so popular that now street theatre companies around the country are riding around on colourful birds. The lemming's ostriches remain a big hit however, because of their fun qualities. Like all lemmings' acts, they interact with the audience in playful and entertaining way. They can be seen chasing people, stealing food and pecking 'ass, to the great enjoyment of onlookers.
THE CAMEL STILT ILLUSION
An elegant illusion that has proved popular around the world. People are truly mystified ~ are there two people inside? And does it have batteries? Are two frequently asked questions? For those who are not used to stilt illusions it can take some time to work out. As for the performers it really does take skill to move around while tied together on stilts.
THE AMAZING MECHANICAL MORRIS MEN
(also called the "Hot shoe show") A smash hit at the Stockholm Water Festival, 1999 and on tour in Germany and Italy The "hot shoe show" is the story of two little people fighting against the odds to create a bizarre dance spectacle. Along the way they entertain the crowds with various feats, that involves flying glasses of beer and other wonderful comic antics.
Finally they assemble their life size mechanical dancers and to the amazement of the audience the dancers leap into action, a mass of arms and legs moving in complete harmony until disaster strike and parts of the mechanical dancers fly off. Our reluctant heroes continue to dance until the bitter end and eventually (to the rhythm of the "Can can") mechanical heads shoot into the air amid clouds of smoke and applause. Our heroes have turned the dance into chaos and chaos into a dance spectacle.
It has recently been performed in Turkey and India where it was a huge success.
The knight riders stilt illusion takes the appearance of pairs of jesters apparently riding "piggy back" on Knights in armour. The knights are eye-catching, colourful and big, while the jesters are small and mischievous.
THE TUBMEN STILT ILLUSION
This new act has proved to be a splash hit at Nautical and water themed festivals in the UK. At festivals such as Navy Days in Portsmouth and Cowes Regatta, crowds have been amazed at the apparent sight of two old servants carrying a bath full of water containing two happy go lucky aristocrats. The two playful characters are armed water pistols, bubbles and a shower, which aims itself at any one except themselves! It is a fun event for sunny days.
THE PUSHMI-PULLYU STILT ILLUSION
(FROM THE PAGES OF "DR DOOLITTLE")
This is a stunning stilt illusion, in a similar way to the camel, it is created by two stilt walkers tied together and with a surprising challenge ~ one of them has to walk backwards! The pushmi-pullyu is a fictitious animal from the pages of Dr. Doolittle, which has now been brought to life.
THE WILD STUNT SHOW
The Wild Stunt show is a collection of tricks and stunts with a distinctly wild edge. Based around bar tricks, they involve pints of beer, eggs and bricks as well as a very unorthodox method of getting up onto stilts. This is a lightweight robust stilt show that goes beyond any language barrier and has been performed around the world, in countries as diverse as Japan and Canada.
Then it was performed as part of the Shetland Folk festival on reviewer wrote, "Within minutes they had the whole audience in hysterics and at one point totally terrified. David and Mandy have been causing chaos and nonsense for the past 10 years. They had us worried for a wee while, but these fellows are not amateurs when it comes to circus tricks." The Shetland Times.
THE BRITISH "BOBBIES"
Nearly twenty years ago the Lemmings started to create stilt characters and this is one of the most enduring. The Lemmings Bobbies have worked at British Trade Shows in most European countries for the British Tourist Authority as well as touring for the British Council. They have been involved in cultural exchanges between British towns and their twin cities in Denmark and Norway. They have featured at many "British Day's" in Hamburg and Krefeld and at the Rhine Army Summer Shows in Paderborn.
Now the police are also accompanied by beefeaters and guardsmen.
OTHER STREET ACTS IN THE LEMMINGS REPERTOIRE
Years of creative experience enable the lemmings to generate original and innovative ideas and theatrical experience means that they can also make them work. Pandora's box is a simple "Jack in the box idea" which has travelled the world and shows can be tailored to most situations. If not we are quick to say so, so don't be afraid to ask.
'Within minutes they had the whole audience in hysterics and at one point totally terrified. David and Mandy have been causing chaos and nonsense for the past 10 years. They had us worried for a wee while, but these fellows are not amateurs when it comes to circus tricks.' The Shetland Times.
"Mixing comedy with magic, often ineptly done On purpose, was the trademark of the great British performed Tommy Cooper. There were moments when they reminded me of Cooper - which is high praise indeed."
- South China Morning Post
"The Lemmings are madly funny. I was stunned, shocked, deeply fascinated and with a pain in the stomach muscles from laughter. An outrageously good show." - Ekstrabladet, Copenhagen.
"Real stunts and clever Illusions interspersed, with feats of daring do, delivers moments of inspired idiocy." - The Economist
"This is a delightful comedy, a show that will, literally lift the shirt off your back... There follow some wildly daring stunts and this leads to one of the funniest moments I've seen so far. Its hilarious."
- The List, Edinburgh Festival Review.
"Ingenious, a pinnacle of inspired silliness. Throughout there are tricks of various sorts, puns, and escapes. Jokes and explosions; the mixture is hilarious but behind the humour there must be an element of real risk. The Idea is ingenious and some serious points are being made in this very entertaining show. There are four characters but only two performers whose real skills make possible the semblance of anarchy and accident."
- Scotsman, Edinburgh Festival Review.
"The most outrageously funny double act of the year. Two hours of frantic fun. Its a show that boldly goes where no entertainment has gone before, that defies description but certainly makes you feel you have been to the theatre." - Liverpool Post
Some of the places that the lemmings have performed include:-
Jerusalem festival, Israel - The World Expo in Brisbane, Australia - the Silk Road Exposition, in Nara, Japan - Halifax Buskers Festival, Canada - Singapore Buskers Festival - Deventer op Stelten, Holland (on two occasions) - Tiong Bahru, Singapore (a special Christmas production) - Rhine Army Summer show, Paderborn, Germany (on three occasions) - Lisbon festival, Portugal - Stockholm Water Festival (on three occasions) - Hong Kong Fringe Festival - The First Bayside Festival, Okinawa, Japan - Roskilde Festival, Denmark - The Youth Olympics, Esjberg, Denmark - The World Expo, Seville, Spain - Rusutsu Resort, Hokkaido, Japan (on six occasions) - Menen Festival, Belgium - Deventer Festival, Holland - Edinburgh Festival, Scotland - the Millennium Dome, in London England - Oostende and Opwick festivals, Belgium - British cultural exchange with Chongquin in China - A five city tour of Turkey - Kala Ghoda festival, India - Al Ain festival, United Arab Emirates - Jvaskyla festival, Finland