Weirder Thou Art
TWO STARS | Ardyth Johnson's confusing piece ends up being more tragedy than great clowning
Company: Physically Speaking, Toronto
Genre: Physical Theatre
Venue: 6 — Tom Hendry Warehouse
In the best clowning, there's a sense of barely controlled chaos, and humour that comes from the recognition of the foibles in ourselves the clowns are presenting.
Weirder Than Thou is not the best clowning.
In Ardyth Johnson's convoluted and confusing piece, Macbeth's three witches are trapped in a time loop, and have kidnapped Shakespeare — so they can help him write Macbeth. It's best not to try to make too much sense of it.
It ends up being more tragedy than great clowning.- Joff Schmidt
Which would be fine, if the clown work here was more successful than it is. Working in the French style of bouffon — a grotesque, satirical type of clowning — Johnson's show aims to take some of the stuffiness out of Shakespeare. But jokes intended to be risqué fall flat, the dialogue isn't often especially witty, the characters quickly become grating and the performances are generally just not comically sharp enough.
A couple of good bits — like the cleverly staged murder of Banquo and a drawn out death scene — aren't enough to salvage the show.
It ends up being more tragedy than great clowning.