Clown for Hire
The tears of a clown that just doesn't work
This article is from 2013.
When a fringe show goes wrong, it’s an absolute car crash, and Clown for Hire serves up a five lane-pile up. Armed with a bucket, a wheelie-bin and a clown outfit, Julius (Batsile Rakgantsho Ramasodi) springs onto the stage with a series of half-baked pratfalls which mystified his audience, many of whom ran for the exits during a lengthy sequence during which he puts a bucket on his head.
Julius’s grandly announced backstory turns out to a traditional ‘tears of a clown’ routine: abandoned as a baby in Johannesburg, Julius formed an unlikely dream to become a circus clown. Having failed to earn laughs by pretending there’s excrement in his bucket or licking water from a bowl like a dog, Julius’s attempts to wring pathos from his lament prove equally misguided.
This is part of the Assembly’s South African season, and there’s presumably a political meaning, but the broadness of the show dulls any subtext. That two volunteers plucked from the audience turned out to get more laughs that Julius did in forty-five minutes demonstrates that this clown doesn’t work
Bosco Theatre Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, until 26 Aug (not 12), 11.40am, £12 -£13, (£11-£12).