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Shannon Vitali and Christian Nimri: Chores

By | Published on Friday 22 July 2022

When we’re perusing the listings of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, we always have our eye out for brilliant family entertainment, especially the sort that has a genuine appeal for all family members: it’s fabulous when parents and carers are just as enthralled as the children they’ve brought to see a show. 

One such production – which was created with every age group in mind – is ‘Chores’, a comedy circus show from Australia featuring acrobatics, stunts and physical comedy in the style of the slapstick greats. 

It’s been to the Fringe before, but returns this time with a new cast. I spoke to the stars of the show – Shannon Vitali and Christian Nimri – to find out more. 

CM: Can you start by telling us about the content of the show? Does ‘Chores’ tell a story?
SV+CN: ‘Chores’ is filled with silliness, acrobatics, chaos, clowning and a whole lot of toilet paper. 

It’s the story of two typical young kids playing in their mess of a room. Suddenly, mother’s alarming screams rattle the kids back into acrobatic action. A generous serve of comedy and chaotic acrobatics accompanies every attempt at cleaning their room and doing their chores.

This mess of chaos and comedy concludes with a last-minute cleaning spree. Mum is kept at bay and the rewards come flooding in.

CM: How would you describe it in terms of style or genre?  
SV+CN: A kids show created for adults. It’s an acrobatic clowning show with plenty of slapstick, clowning and plenty of interactive gags inspired by slapstick legends Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. There is little to no dialogue as well, so it’s for quite literally, everybody.

CM: Do the audience get involved with the show at all? Is it interactive?  
SV+CN: 100%!! The more the audience gives us the better the show will be. A huge part of the show is us interacting with the audience. We have plenty of planned gags and interactions that make ‘Chores’ so special… which means – adults – let your kids have fun and be noisy!

CM: What sort of age group is the show aimed at? 
SV+CN: The show’s aimed for anybody who wants to laugh! The entire show was created for kids AND adults the same.

CM: Can you tell us about how you go about putting a show like this together? What does the creative process look like? 
CN: ‘Chores’ was originally created by Patrick Heilmann and Julian Roberts. They have since passed on the overalls to many performers and we are the latest to take over. I’m really a new kid on the block, having only been learning and performing circus and acrobatics in the past two years.

SV: I’ve been in the industry – as a circus and stunt performer – for thirteen years, touring the world with well known companies. With this show, we had a three week rehearsal period, which started by learning the show as a skeleton, then we added in our own twangs, developed our own characters, learned a set of new skills and tricks, and then put it all together within the last week to create what we have now!

CM: It’s been performed in Edinburgh before, hasn’t it? What made you decide to bring it back to the Festival? 
SV+CN: It has! And it took some incredible awards as well as high five star ratings. We’ve been dreaming over the pandemic period of bringing the show back to the incredible Edinburgh Fringe, so we’re hoping to bring some more glory back home for ‘Chores’ with the new cast. And of course much more glamorous future tours!

CM: What are you looking forward to about being in Edinburgh? 
SV+CN: It’s the first full Fringe in a while, it’s going to be absolutely raving. We’re excited to do our show, see people everywhere, and have an unlimited amount of shows to watch. Being surrounded by multitudes of talent and different artists. It’s truly going to be a magical – but exhausting! – experience and we can’t wait.

CM: What are the best and worst bits about performing at the Fringe festivals? 
SV+CN: The best bits are being surrounded by so much incredible talent, as well as having the opportunity to see plenty of shows without having to travel too far. 

The worst part is how exhausting it can be – however, it’s so rewarding.

CM: Aside from performing, what will you be doing while you are in town?
SV+CN: We’re both into photography, so lots of sightseeing and portraits. Watching shows, socialising, networking and then, of course, being a tourist in the beautiful city. 

CM: Can we go back a bit and talk about your career history? How did you come to be pursuing this kind of work? 
SV: I always knew I wanted to be a performer after watching ‘Moulin Rouge’! I started off dancing, then did a bachelor’s degree in circus with the National Institute Of Circus Arts. I was fortunate enough to travel the world performing with some incredible companies after my training.

CN: As I mentioned, I’m really new to the performing world. Although wanting to do it for my entire life, I never gave myself a chance to pursue it until about two years ago, when I started rollerskating. Then I started aerial, dance and acrobatics and became addicted to it. Now here I am! 

CM: What have been the highlights of your careers thus far? 
SV: Being in the new Elvis Presley film as a stunt performer. Circus wise, performing with diverse companies and travelling the world performing in incredible cities like New York.

CN: Having the opportunity to travel to the UK for performing, an absolute dream. As well, dancing for Courtney Act at a Pride festival in front of thousands of people.

CM: What hopes and ambitions do you have for the future? 
SV: To keep doing what I love doing, meaning a long and prosperous career.

CN: I want to do much more group acrobatics and aerial arts, as well as bettering myself as a performing artist. I also want to make my own shows and tour them internationally. 

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this? 
SV+CN: Hopefully a year round world tour with ‘Chores’. We do already have dates booked for the show back in Australia, so we’ll be returning their first, before hopefully heading back out into the world.

‘Chores’ was performed at Assembly Rooms at Edinburgh Festival 2022.

LINKS: www.instagram.com/shannonvitali | www.instagram.com/chrisnims