EdFringe 2023 Review: Kokoon ★★★★★

“Slick performance skills and well-pitched comedy, Kokoon are masters at crafting a warm and welcoming atmosphere…this is an absolute gem of the festival.”

Kokoon combine boy band K-Pop with comedy in their self-titled Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut. The South Korean five-piece bring a mix of powerhouse musical performances, hilarious comedy skits, and some well-pitched audience interaction to the Assembly Festival’s Checkpoint.

Jae Min, Shu Ya, Ju Won, Sae Am and Won Ki make up K-Pop five-piece Kokoon who found success on South Korean variety show Comedy Big League. They’ve built up an impressive reputation thanks to their slick pop tracks What?!! and Kitty which showcase their singing, dancing, and rapping skills, talents that the group bring to the stage this Fringe.

Opening the hour long set with a high energy K-Pop number, the group then introduce themselves – The Leader, The Handsome One, The Cute One etc., truly setting themselves up like the pop archetypes that young fans would swoon over. Jae Min leads the production with an impressive showmanship and certainly left us swooning, whilst Won Ki provides much of the comedy – yet each member of Kokoon gets multiple moments to shine in this set. The group bounce off one another with a natural and authentic friendship and even when one may be the recipient of the jokes, it all remains good-natured fun.

The Assembly Checkpoint’s audience are encouraged to get involved, shouting “Kokoon” to the group’s at various points, or getting involved shouting lyrics during the group’s musical number What?!! We are encouraged to clap-a-long and cheer, with the group feeding off the crowd’s enthusiastic energy. A couple of audience members are selected at various points – one is involved creating animal sound effects for an acoustic rendition of In the Jungle, sung beautifully by Jae Min, whilst the other is brought in to ring bells as part of a musical skit.

One might expect that Kokoon would either excel at comedy or their musical performances, but in truth, the group perform each with a real finesse and confidence. Around five musical numbers are performed including a tribute to BLACKPINK and later K-Pop hit Gangnam Style popularised by PSY – yet their original music is equally as catchy as that of their South Korean contemporaries. Western audiences will be especially familiar with Won Ki’s skilful beatboxing of Benny Benassi hit Satisfaction.

As well as slick performance skills and well-pitched comedy, Kokoon are masters at crafting a warm and welcoming atmsosphere. The audience are quickly put at ease thanks to the warm and loveable personas of each of the members of Kokoon and their well-intentioned on stage repartee. This is an absolute gem of the festival.

Kokoon runs until the 13th of August. Get tickets here.

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