On Wednesday, Francesca* and I went to see Death of a Clown at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre, which is a co-production between the theatre department and ITSAZOO Theatre Productions. It was uproariously funny, well produced, beautifully directed and very well acted. It was a joy to watch – perfectly designed sets formed a world occupied by charming clowns trying to escape from a dull, soul destroying routine in the corporate world. Audience interaction, involving some bawdy humour, destroyed the fourth wall to marvelous effect: while most of the audience appreciated the opportunity to interact with the clowns, some audience members who did not appreciate either the message or the style of the play looked appalled when approached with jumper cables. Other notable features included a line that you should (not) cross, enchanting costumes and quick character changes indicating the fluidity of identity. The “snow” scene was also amazing.
Francesca* disagreed with my rosy assessment of the play, expressing ambivalent feelings about it. While she agreed that the play was very well produced and acted, she thought it descended too much into “messagism,” trying to hammer home its anti-corporate point more forcefully than necessary. She also criticized some of its bawdy humour as being gratuitous. While I think these criticisms are plausible, I disagreed with how much weight to give them: I can forgive the messagism because the play was so entertaining and so well produced/acted, and can forgive the few times when the bawdy humour went slightly over the line because I know how fine that line is.
Overall, I would recommend seeing this play. It runs this evening (Oct. 22) and tomorrow afternoon and evening at the Phoenix.
*Not her real name.