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Credit: Derevo
Credit: Derevo

Last Clown On Earth, Pleasance Courtyard – Review

Pros: Arresting images and dark humour.

Cons: A clown in existential crisis inevitably produces a show light on belly laughs.~

Pros: Arresting images and dark humour. Cons: A clown in existential crisis inevitably produces a show light on belly laughs.~ For the first half an hour I was baffled. I’ll admit that I had been expecting more of a twinkly eyed, red nosed, falling-over kind of clown. This was a challenging work with striking visual images, but some of the staging was shabby and it didn’t hang together well. Russian actor Adasinsky’s company Derevo (it means tree) made their Fringe debut 20 years ago and are known for experimental work which incorporates butoh, mime and dance. In this solo…

Summary

Rating

Good

Obscure and beguiling meditation on life and death from renowned physical theatre artist Anton Adasinsky.

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For the first half an hour I was baffled. I’ll admit that I had been expecting more of a twinkly eyed, red nosed, falling-over kind of clown. This was a challenging work with striking visual images, but some of the staging was shabby and it didn’t hang together well.

Russian actor Adasinsky’s company Derevo (it means tree) made their Fringe debut 20 years ago and are known for experimental work which incorporates butoh, mime and dance. In this solo work Adasinsky explores the identity of a clown pushed to the limits. An award-winning actor for both stage and film, he has an astonishing face. Deep-set eyes, high cheek bones and a prominent nose, it’s a face full of light and shadow. Sometimes his thin, angular body mimed gestures which were crystal clear, at others he seemed to be writing in space with a spidery hand that I struggled to read.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the last clown tries to bargain with God and the Devil who are presented as film images projected onto the cyc wall at the back of the theatre. The problem with this is that timing goes easily awry, the audience knows the clown is really talking to nobody, and bringing two-dimensional people into such a physical world is jarring. The clown attempts a staging of the temptation in the garden of Eden. He gets three audience members up and tells them to ‘do nothing’ while he dances nostalgically to a pop song, and wheels himself along in a home-made coffin. The iconic red nose does make appearances, but for this clown it’s grossly over-sized, and has to be carried in a wheel-barrow, or it’s absurdly long and he tries to hang himself with it. The sections are a mixed bag, and are let down by uneven quality in the lighting and staging. Adasinsky’s dark imagining of the clown, skating on thin ice between poetry and disaster, has a shabby, tragic beauty to it. Not one for the kids.

The Last Clown: A. Adasinsky
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/last-clown-on-earth
Booking Until: 28th August 2017

 

About Alexandra Gray

Alexandra Gray
Alexandra’s love of physical theatre first became clear at five years old when she veered off script in the school nativity play. At the entrance of the Angel Gabriel, she cartwheeled across the stage crying ‘Yippee, an angel of the lord!’ and the Virgin Mary burst into tears. Following this auspicious start, she went on to study dance and theatre and is currently doing her Masters in English Literature. When not in the library or at the theatre, she can be found singing jazz professionally, teaching yoga, and growing broad beans.