Edinburgh Festival: Next Door (3 stars)

You couldn’t meet two more likeable performers than Ivan Hansen, from Denmark, and Pekka Räikkönen, from Finland.

From the moment you enter the theatre and they are smiling and bopping along to Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon to the end of the show when they are inviting you to join them on stage for a shot of Scandinavian liqueur, they are a delight to spend time with.

Masters of mime and physical theatre, the pair imaginatively tell a story beginning with the people living in Ivan’s apartment block and then moving on to their own childhood friendship in the 1980s. In a final joyful twist, the two strands meet.

While the story can feel like an excuse for bringing together self-contained routines, rather than a fully-developed narrative, these set pieces are a real treat. The talented pair conjure up amusing little scenes through their brilliantly expressive faces and movements. A hundred years ago the two may have met on the battlefield; now such barriers no longer exist.

 

It’s all very charming. By the time the show ends, everyone is chatting on stage. There are not many performances you can say that

 

Written for The Scotsman

 

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