Clown Lights Stage
Alice Mary Cooper @ The Tuxedo Cat – Cat Bowl
6:00pm, Sat 25 Feb 2012
When I attempted to see Christophe’s show, I strolled (or, more accurately, scooted – I was running slightly late) into the Cat Bowl to see Christophe poking around on the tech’s desk, and Alice Mary Cooper, clad only in underwear, cleaning some dark stuff off her limbs. I found it creepily difficult to look away, if only because I wanted to know what she had smeared on herself; I assured her that Clown Lights Stage was on The Shortlist, and she promised me I’d learn the secrets to her grubbiness.
So I was a bit keen to see this show. The weirdest things can trigger interest, right?
Anyway: there’s a small (let’s call it “intimate”) crowd in for this evening’s show, and in their infinite wisdom they’ve decided to fill from the back row. Not me; straight down the front. You know, to give the Alice a friendly face in the crowd. And when Alice arrives, prim and official, she’s rushing to deliver a lecture: she’s got a series of slides on her chosen topic of… something frightfully academic-sounding already set up on the projector.
But Alice has forgotten her notes; she leaves us to go collect them. We see her scurry off, then hear the screeching of tyres, a crash – then nothing.
I turn back around to see where Alice had gone… and see Ms Felicity Clown (Alice, clad in baggy white underwear with a red clown’s nose) creeping nervously forward, carrying Alice’s bag. She explains that Alice has been hit by a blue car, and that Clown will be filling in for her… and so begins a quite bizarre lecture.
You see, Clown struggles (as do the audience) to even comprehend what Alice’s slides are about, and fumbles about in an attempt to convey her perceived meaning using the contents of Alice’s bag. It’s not long before Nutella is smeared on her arms and legs, followed by a comical attempt to lick the spread off the limbs. The slide that read “Test the limits of naturalism on stage by sitting and eating a full English breakfast” results in Clown extracting a Twinings English Breakfast teabag and eating it, before expunging the chewed up mass into Alice’s water (though I was disappointed to miss out on the tampon variation that Jane witnessed). And the quest for the lost sweeties was a bloody good laugh, too.
A lot of Clown Lights Stage reminded me of Dr Brown’s antics; absurdist explorations into everyday objects. Alice Mary Cooper has a wonderful sense of timing, and somehow manages to make Clown a character you want to barrack for; Clown’s misplaced-confidence is utterly charming, and is spiced up with a trace of whimsy.
The audience was barely into double-figures this evening, and we were unevenly split into two halves of the room: myself and another girl sitting behind me were the Noisy Side, laughing and cheering Clown on, and the Other Side, who were… ummm… frugal with their vocal approval. Which must have been tough – especially, as Alice told me later, as there were a number of reviewers in that night. And I hope they saw the Noisy Side having a good time… because we certainly did.