A 3pm, Tuesday afternoon audience, on the first properly sunny day of Edinburgh Fringe, was never going to be easy for an indoor juggler to win over. But, Marcus Monroe didn’t just succeed in winning them over, he built them to a frenzy in his fantastic show; The Rise and Fall of Marcus Monroe.
Marcus is a juggler and a comedian, a bit of an actor too. He’s the first to admit that jugglers don’t tend to reach the dizzying heights of fame that other artists do, not even in the modern age of social media, but he’s willing to give it a good try. His hour-long show is packed with spectacular juggling and self-depreciating comedy routines, with a whole load of extra surprises thrown in.
This isn’t just an hour of juggling, impressive as that element is, there’s a clever storyline which brings the whole show together, Marcus has had some help with the writing from Josh Koenigsberg (Orange is the New Black). That leaves Marcus free to deliver a superb performance with flair; ably supported by put-upon ‘personal assistant’, Anna.
The show feels much bigger than its Piccolo Tent setting, the use of video, lighting and music is particularly impressive, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine it playing in far larger venues. While so many Fringe Shows are having to try too hard to be ‘edgy’ or ‘different’, Marcus clearly just wants us all to have fun, and we certainly do, because his passion and sense of fun is infectious.
The Rise and Fall of Marcus Monroe is one of those wonderful shows where the only time you’re not smiling from ear to ear, is when you’re laughing hard or gawping in amazement at the stunts he’s pulling. Not only is Marcus Monroe extremely talented when it comes to juggling, he’s an expert in building rapport with his audience, who fell in love with him and Anna, almost immediately.
The Rise and Fall of Marcus Monroe is a genius of a show, which is far more Rise than Fall in my opinion. Gloriously entertaining, whilst allowing Marcus to show a softer side behind the showman bravado. Despite his concerns (or rather, everyone else’s) about juggling as a profession, Marcus Monroe is a spectacular performer with the world at his feet.