Circus Incognitus (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Circus Incognitus

Jamie Adkins' old-school street-to-stage clowning works a treat at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Jamie Adkins’ mastery as an all-round entertainer is predicated not only on a pretty prodigious set of skills – juggling, clowning, the slack wire and so on – but also on how relaxed he is when employing any of them.

He starts the show in darkness, playing with the light from the torch in his hands. His subsequent bumbling, empathy-inducing encounters with a chair and a large cardboard box are deceptive. Adkins knows his props. He can, for instance, do a lot with balls; whether of the ping pong variety (including a squash and a resurrection) or the softer kind that he stuffs into his cheeks. He also invites some deftly controlled audience participation involving a select few lobbing citrus fruit in his direction.

Somehow Adkins manages to make the most inconsequential matters engaging. Largely due to his unforced stage personality, and the combination of unpretentious knowingness and spontaneous innocence that he emanates. The show hasn’t much metaphorical resonance or weight, but then it’s not meant to be high-concept circus. Rather, it’s the unapologetically populist and thoroughly rewarding work of a throwback vaudevillian in control of his talent to amuse.

In his own way, Adkins could almost be deemed a physical comedy poet. This fairly young man with the skew-whiff hair is an inspired yet easy-going goof, and oh can it feel good to be in his company.

New Town Theatre, 220 0143, until 24 Aug (not 18), 4pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12).

Circus Incognitus

  • 4 stars

Jamie Adkins Jamie Adkins is a performer in the vaudeville tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. With no hi-tech distractions, his irresistible character heroically battles with the everyday objects of life, permanently on the verge of disaster… moving but hilarious. He treats the audience as a partner and as a…