Angela Wand: Wounded Animals
Weak hour of storytelling from self-confessed 'bad clown'
Angela Wand is pretty fabulous as she arrives on stage, decked in sequins and platform shoes, and channelling the wild spirit of Tina Turner. Like that great performer, she's got charisma in spades and plenty of physical presence, but this show doesn't do that talent justice.
Wand, an American living in Sweden, is a trained clown, though we don't get to see much of that side of her here: 'I'm a bad clown,' she admits. Instead, we get a series of vignettes from her life, from early experiences with the Catholic Church in her Californian hometown to the ease of her route in getting a Swedish visa compared to the non-white friends she made in the immigration office.
Wand is certainly not afraid to approach some dark topics: in the highlight of this hour, she makes a powerful, wordless statement with a couple of whips after relating a disturbing conversation she overheard on a train. She's also a whizz on roller-skates: you're unlikely to see someone skate with more skill in such a small space all festival. But there isn't enough of this physical prowess on show, and her spoken material isn't strong enough to maintain a delicate balance between the bleak moments and laugh-out-loud funny.
Most of all, Wounded Animals feels misplaced in its late-night Gilded Balloon slot. Wand is produced by Aurora Nova, the pioneering physical theatre and circus agency that's also presenting Fringe highlights like Familie Flöz's Teatro Delusio (see review, page xx) and awesome circus affair A Simple Space this year, and in 2015 brought us comedy hit Trygve Wakenshaw. Wounded Animals is billed as comedy, but there isn't enough clowning to make it a physical comedy and the storytelling isn't good enough for stand-up. Angela Wand does have a great rapport with the crowd, but her weak material can't sustain this hour.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug (not 17, 24), 10.45pm, £11–£12.