by Rebecca Edgewood
Edmonton is home to a lot of clowns. And over the years, the Fringe has hosted such notable clown shows as Fools for Love and Sofa So Good. So, our standards are pretty high. And that’s what makes the Seattle-based touring show Apocalypse Clown extra hard to take.
The first story was sweet, and charming enough, but after that the show became strange. The actors reacted without motivation, and neither clown character was ever fully developed. Xan Scott seems like a sweet girl. When she was flyering the Fringe lines before the show, she appeared likeable and charismatic. However, her personality is completely lost the moment she steps onto the stage.
The gags were neither funny nor well-executed. During the ‘disappearing chicken’ joke, the rubber bird’s foot could be clearly seen. The dead clown’s movements were apparent even from the back of the 350-seat theatre. The props seem worn and in need of replacement, and the items Xan ‘hid’ down her dress slipped so far out of place by the end of the show that the awkward bulges in her bodice grab focus from the action in the scene.
The play needs a new script and a new director, and possibly a larger role for co-star Tom Spangenberg, who is clearly the more adept clown in the duo. It isn’t that Xan lacks talent, it’s that she seems to lack a clear idea of her character and of how to execute humorous scenes ‘in clown’. With a good coach and some heavy rewrites, Apocalypse Clown would be worth a remount. But in its current form, it’s a long, frustrating hour of theatre.