Forced Entertainment return after gaining several awards for their work with a new show, Out of Order, which is running until 14 October at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre.

Six performers – Tim Etchells, Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor – dress identically in pastel shirts, tartan jackets and trousers, and painted clown faces. They sit at a table, and a song plays. They start a fight. This repeats three or four times, with increasing violence and intensity, until all but Etchells are prone on the floor.

The cast of Out of Order
The cast of Out of Order

A sequence with balloons of different colours follows, then a table and chairs follow-my-leader which went on just a bit too long. Marx Brother-style horns cause havoc before the song from the beginning returns, with all hell breaking loose.

Then, to finish, the Blue Danube. I felt the evening was funny and entertaining, but slightly too long and just a little bit forced in places: as a comment on the current “state of the nation” it has something to say about blind following, quick reactions, and simple inertia.

That song, too, is quite an earworm, and the burst balloon which ends the evening is more than a bit cathartic.

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