Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) Mump and Smoot in Something

Guffaws from the Heart.
“National treasures!” Scream the posters. Go see why.
by David C. Jones

Mump and Smoot – clowns of horror have been touring the world charming and shocking guffawing audiences since 1986. Go see why.

Most of the audience was older (Mump and Smoot last presented Something in Vancouver 1994) and most were eagerly there for their second time. Go see why.

This is the last show in The Cultch season and their fourth or fifth clown show – don’t be scared – and like two others of them - Blind Date and I, Malvolio - the audience is part of the show – don’t be scared.

They speak their own gibberish language and worship a God named Ummo.

These clowns are archetypical but wholly unique. Smoot is low status happy, easily wounded but capable of petty revenge. Mump is high status incredulous, vicious but easily confused. They speak their own gibberish language and worship a God named Ummo. They also are glutinous, play with severed limbs and there is often blood. But they are so cute.

The show, directed by Karen Hines, has a giddily threatening feel as they walk in from behind us in the balcony Smoot clutching Mump’s coat jacket tail in fear. They stop and interact with audience members as they squeeze past. But their curiosity and playfulness never feels mean-spirited at least from them. Unacknowledged audience members may feel a sense of schadenfreude.

The show is made up of three short plays.

In “The Café” a fine dining experience is sabotaged by a sinister waiter played by Thug (a wickedly fun Candace Berliguette). Wine is spilt and spaghetti is tossed. It’s delightfully childish with a real sense of danger.
In “The Wake” the hugely grief-stricken duo find macabre joy at the funeral parlor, then there is shame and sadness, then terror.

Mortality is further explored in “The Doctor” – when a little role-play in a deserted doctor's office leads to a dire diagnosis.  
Smoot is John Turner,  Mump is Michael Kennard and they are masters at their craft and their love of performing is apparent – yes, they want to shock and make the audience go “ewww” but ultimately they want them to laugh. They hear everything and the show has an improvisational edge as they react to everything and incorporate everything. You can’t take your eyes off them because they are so alive and in each moment.

If you are really scared or worried sit in the balcony or in the middle of a row, but get over it, no one is maimed or humiliated. It’s just a little chaos and a little anarchy and a lot of fun. They also touch your heart, they are vulnerable and sweet as they end up with a fork stabbed in the head, or while they eat a spider or saw a leg off.  It’s a whole lot of funny, I laughed so hard at one point I lost my pen.
Go see why.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.