The British comedy troupe Men in Coats was one of the earliest Internet sensations, reaping hundred thousands of views with online videos of their act, popularizing their particular brand of high energy physical humor.
Created by British comedian Michael Dow, the group has laid low for the past few years, but they’re back for a show at Jakarta’s Gandaria City mall, running from June 20-29.
As their name makes clear, much of Men in Coats’ show has them performing with large winter coats and presenting a mix of illusions and slapstick — including the dependable hand-in-shoe trick — should bode well with Indonesian audiences. Though the mall’s stage setup does not make it possible for the Men to perform in front of their trademark black background — which plays a lot into the illusions performed — they are still able to inject a lot of entertainingly cartoon-like limb stretching into their set. Fans of the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy’s limber inventiveness should have something to smile at.
For their Indonesian leg of the tour, Dow will perform alongside Mark Felgate. Every weekday, the duo will perform two shows, while weekends will have them perform three. Each of these performances will be followed by meet-and-greet sessions with the Men in Coats. Though the show is performed within the mall’s public space, and is visible to all visitors, there are guest and VIP seats available for mall visitors with a certain number of shopping credits.
Men in Coats first made its mark on the comedy circuits when it won Hackney Empire’s New Act of the Year award in 1999, resulting in a string of sell-out shows during their first tour through Edinburgh, where most of those early videos were said to have been taken.
Their increasing popularity meant that a larger, international tour was to be undertaken — and between the early to mid-2000s, Men in Coats performed myriad shows all over the world, including in Thailand, the Bahamas, South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Malta, Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Portugal, Monte Carlo (they also reportedly performed for British and European royalty).
The Men in Coats also performed on TV shows, including “The Royal Variety Show” for BBC1 and “The Live Floor Show” for BBC2; 10 performances for Laat Dutch TV in the Netherlands; France’s “La Luna Sin Falta” program; Melbourne’s “Gala Show”; and National TV Australia’s “Just for Laughs” hidden camera show, among many others.
Popularity also brought critical adoration, with publications praising their act as inventive in its simplicity. The Guardian wrote that they were “hilariously simple,” while Time Out stated that the Men In Coats were “very funny... the most exciting visual comedy act... unstoppable.” The Independent simply wrote that the shows were “a sheer delight... nigh on perfect.”
Rudi Prakoso, 37, a visitor who caught an early show with his sons, said that the show was some of the most fun “mall shows” he had seen in a long time.
“I think that for once, the parents will be able to laugh along with their kids at a holiday program!” he said.
Men in Coats will be showing in Gandaria City mall, South Jakarta, until June 29. For full schedule, visit gandariacity.co.id.