Monday 24 October 2016 by JS Harding

Slapstick purists enchanted by Man Utd’s defenders’ homage to physical comedy


Manchester United slapstick performance

The performance of Manchester United’s defence in their 4-0 defeat by Chelsea on Sunday is being hailed by fans of the golden era of slapstick as ‘the greatest homage to physical comedy’ since the genre’s 1920s heydey.

Orchestrated from the wings by their winningly deadpan choreographer, Jose ‘The Special One’ Mourinho, the Red Devils opened their set with the classic ‘Arghh, bomb incoming!’ routine.

Captain Chris Smalling, Daley ‘I could be’ Blind, and goalie David de Gea gave a masterclass in the art of group comic timing by letting the ‘bomb’ bounce on the edge of the box- leaving the opposition with a rib-tickling simple opener.

And the Utd boys retained their ‘Keystone Kops’ spirit of hapless defending for the remainder of the game, captivating aficionados of bygone comedy eras.

One such self-confessed fan, Simon Williams, purred, “It was like I was alive in the days of Keaton and Chaplin – and they had finally teamed up and put on a live show.

“Flailing limbs, breakdowns in communication…I haven’t been this spellbound since the same production company’s fabled ‘Brown and Barthez’ shows back in the day.

“At one point I even muted the sound, turned the contrast to black and white and put on my ‘Enthralling Piano Accompaniments to Silent Comedy’ CD.”

Opposition choreographer Antonio Conte also drew widespread praise for his frantic, audience-rousing gestures, leaving the watching public in awe of the collaborative spectacle they had just witnessed.

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