Barnstaple's Fringe Theatre Festival
June 23rd-26th 2016

Nose Business

Clown Noir

Joe Bloodworth is a clown who busks for a living and the audience, his audience, gets drawn into his tale. At first the relationship is an uneasy one as we watch him drinking in his un-salubrious corner and he, slightly aggressively, pan handles for coins.

Then he starts telling his tales, unburdening himself , starting with the death of his father, moving to good times in Gorbachevís Russia before the days of capitalism and the mafia forced him to move on; to harder days in a cold , bleak Germany and finally the long journey home to be near his mother.

But the real journey is the emotional one of moving away from his family and towards something that offers the good life, searching for a role, and back again to making a small but real connection.

This is a very moving, bitter-sweet hour of theatre, it is well structured and well-paced. The tale is enhanced by an apt sound track of original German Expressionist music in the style of Kurt Weil, which is integral to the action. There is something of a Becket clown here.

There is a slight problem with the venue in that, as there is no rake, the people at the back canít see anything happening at floor level. That aside, it is an involving, well- crafted piece which, incidentally, the thumbnail sketch in the festival brochure does not do justice. More than one member of the audience left with a tear in their eye.

Highly recommended.
Nicola Cockell, The Daily Fringe