One Day Moko
A homeless man's daily experiences condensed
Tim Carlsen's one-man show takes inspiration both from clowning and the lives of the homeless: in One Day Moko, he presents a series of episodes, games and stories that span Moko's daily routines, challenges and enthusiasms. Chatting to the audience from the start, and carefully avoiding pan-handling clichés, he attempts to create a character more unfamiliar than the typical tales of anguish.
Unfortunately, the uneven structure of the piece undermines the focus on the subject. Moko's lies about his relatives around the world – all of whom have an important job that he has, transparently, just made up – give way to a serialised story about a couple in the throes of relationship turmoil. It's never quite clear what their relationship to Moko might be, and the sudden shift in tone from street survival to middle-class anguish detracts from the depiction of Moko's life.
Since Moko is based on Carlsen's own investigation and connection to homeless people, there are telling details: the relationship with the police and local fast food vendors reveal a man claiming his dignity. Yet Moko's character is obscured by the meandering episodes. Finally, when Carlsen admits that he finds endings hard, it is difficult to know whether he is speaking in character or observing a dramaturgical weakness.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug (not 15, 22), 3.45pm, £12.50–£13.50 (£10.50–£11.50).