Fringe Physical Theatre

Last Clown on Earth

Pleasance Courtyard

Loading article content

four stars

Eaten

Summerhall

four stars

Wereldband:Slapstick

Assembly George Square Theatre

four stars

Mary Brennan

WHAT if the sun imploded, leaving darkness to envelope the earth – could anybody save humanity? Enter a raggedy figure, clambering over the audience and onto the stage: Anton Adasinsky is about to square up to the slings and arrows of cosmic misfortune as the Last Clown on Earth, a role he inhabits with every shade of the chameleon grotesquerie he’s devised as the founder of the award-winning Russian physical theatre company, Derevo.

Actually, for “clown”, you might want to think instead of a holy fool, a comedic fall guy ready to wander from Heaven to Hell, lobbying God and the Devil who both appear in the quirky video/animations by Pavel Semchenko. This quest finds him caught up with the flaws in humanity, from that original fall from grace in Eden through to 21st century acts of aggression, greed and selfishness. Adasinsky’s expressive virtuosity is to the fore throughout, as is the bitter-sweet melancholy that shadows the heights of absurdity, all leading, with an unflagging smile, to final self-sacrifice on our behalf. This is clowning with a distinctly Russian accent, profoundly spiritual and redemptive, even when the buffoonery is in full flow.

Runs until August 28

SCIENTIFIC fact meets humorous invention when Mamoru Iriguchi invites audiences to delve into the belly of the beast and discover what it means to be Eaten. Lionel MacLion may want to be vegetarian but he has swallowed Iriguchi whole and now, as it were, Lionel’s food is talking back. That clues us that the digestive processes that will, in time, see bodily functions in motion. To the delight of young children, Iriguchi slithers out of the lion’s hindquarters as a ginormous poo. A cheerfully chatty Doctor Poo, in fact, who soon has volunteers on-stage helping to construct the food chain that means you are what you eat – and what that ate, too. Iriguchi explores plant and animal life-cycles with a droll charm that makes even avowed veggies understand why cats, big or small, need to eat meat. Lionel’s exceedingly cute costume is just one of many appealing design elements in a family-friendly show where Iriguchi and fellow-performer Suzi Cunningham use whimsical hi-jinks to feed us stimulating ideas.

Runs until August 27

OFF-stage, the five guys in Wereldband have clearly spent time absorbing the evergreen schtick of Hollywood greats like Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers. On-stage, it’s their own zany energy that refreshes the visual gags from silent movies or the comedy capers out of old-time vaudeville. They even recreate fairground sideshows, merrily wheedling audience members to throw balls at tin cans or compete in a cod shooting gallery. This looning-around is hugely entertaining in itself, but this Dutch troupe are also talented and versatile musicians, who can shift from a capella crooning to rag-time instrumentals by way of poptastic spoof. Kids and adults alike succumb to giggles and guffaws at a cavalcade of daftness that is superbly orchestrated and never misses a trick.

Runs until August 27