Clown Festival– First Cabaret

Went to the first cabaret tonight– it was very full (I’d say over sold, but the tickets were free, and the fire marshal may not be happy to hear about it- so let’s just say that it was full of people.)

It was my first time at the Brick, which is a nice and cozy space. Although they had a mongo air conditioner front and center, it was too little too late, the space was very hot, what with all the people. Fortunately, there were plenty of chinese hand fans in evidence (and liberally used)

One of the best things about a festival like this (in addition to seeing the work, of course) is running into new friends and old friends. I ended up talking for sometime with a new friend- a Danish clown who is living in London and working with a Russian troupe (and it turns out we have a lot of the same influences!) It was great talking to him. (His name was improbably Denni Dennis (and his website is http://www.dennidennis.com )

There were a number of acts performing little tidbits of their upcoming performances. Acts ran about 8 minutes, and while some seemed well suited or designed to pique the interest in the 8 minutes, other shows were less adept at making the cabaret/showcase spot work for them. Nevertheless, all of the shows looked redeeming and pretty interesting (it’s just that some looked more interesting than others) The worst part for me is because of all my other commitments, there are lots of shows I won’t be able to see.

Hot on the list was an old friend Rob Torres, who has been performing on the cruise ship circuit for some time, and has been working on a new solo show that is premiering at the festival called NO PLACE LIKE HOME. That show is directed by Avner Eisenberg. For the cabaret, Rob did a number of funny bits, including some great hat tricks, a bunch of stuff you shouldn’t do with masking tape, and a brilliant tie-tying rope trick.

Another great act was COPS by EFS, a Catalan company. Three guys perform a number of routines based on noir. The scene they showed was an infiltration of a drug bust, featuring cocaine, money, a violin, and a lot of mishaps. It’s clear that the guys have a great comic energy together, and are exceedingly well cast. Their show looks like a great deal of fun.

Another show that looked like a lot of fun was the Canadian clown show Bubkus. The lead clown Jesse Buck did an 8 minute piece that was nearly ruined by a slightly drunk or high giggly clown girl in the front row, who laughed at every opportunity (and some that she shouldn’t have) and was just a little too game to be picked as a volunteer. Buck handled her very well, and also did some very funny obstacle bits with his toothbrush stuck in a bottle of water.

Other shows that looked interesting included The Combustibles Burnt Umber, Erin Bouvey as Flam St. Cyr and her black pussy…Dill and Digger from Norway, and a very interesting act that was just coming in from San Francisco for the day–Jamie Coventry and Natasha Kaluza as Mr. and Mrs. Legume. They did a few funny music bits, including some great body drumming.

At the end of the night, a crowd hung for a while in front of the Brick deciding where to go, and it was nice to see the clown energy. I think the festival needs a beer tent (or a designated drinking spot) It won’t help me, as the best way to get there for me is to drive…. Still, it would be nice to hang out with everybody.

All in all, a very good night for the festival, and I think a great start. I only wish I had the time to see every show and take every class. It would be a LOT of fun.

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