Mopey The Clown ***


Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus (clown, comedy)

. ZOO (Venue 124).


10th-12th August. 

If you’re after something to entertain the kids on a wet August eve, Mopey The Clown ain’t it. Grotesque and sinister throughout, this particular version of dark-clowning delights in satirising everything, from popular culture’s over-reliance on hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine stereotypes to give life meaning, to how a person can practice clowning in a world already so laughably awful.

The actor playing Mopey is impressively physical in his portrait of despondency, even in his few moments of almost-glory.. Another standout performance, this time by Mopey’s love-interest, absolutely charmed me, despite her brassy, unpleasant persona. Likewise, an animalistic father character fascinated me, even though I found the actor’s portrayal of a human more monkey than man deeply disturbing at times. Basically, this production is not so much a comedy as a horror movie, which you’re forced to laugh at because otherwise you’d be hiding behind the sofa. The characters are not serial-killer-evil, merely ignorant and bleakly unkind, which somehow makes it much worse. Give me Michael Myers over Mopey any day! On the other hand, beautiful singing accompaniments and occasional funnies in the form of Casio-keyboard sound effects lend the performance a pleasantly surreal air.

So I’m giving it three stars, mainly because I found the overall effect to be akin to watching war on the news. Interesting, sure, maybe even necessary, but I’m still switching to cartoons as soon as I feel morally able to cope with that decision. Amazing acting, clowning, whatever it was. And definitely an ‘experience’! Just please let me leave now. *Shudder*.

Jo Harrison