Imagine your worst nightmare. You’re on stage. The audience is waiting in front of you. And you’ve prepared nothing. This is what it felt like to watch the bizarre, late night, Lecoq educated clown Brickhead at Sabor. Strangely, however, he pulled it off with an unusual and inventive performance.
Brickhead is not the kind of clown you would expect at all. Dressed in civilian clothes, there are no baggy trousers in sight, no oversized shoes and not even a hint of a red nose. The predominantly wordless comedy centres around a deliberate sense of failure, which echoes the traditional clown-like style of repeatedly tumbling over. For instance, his main prop – an intentionally shoddy hanger – continually falls to pieces while he swears under his breath and makes amusingly infuriated faces at the audience. Rather than employing pie-in-the-face slapstick, Brickhead uses a subtler breed of clownery.
The strengths of the performance not only lie in, but rely on his interactions with the audience: a boring crowd would equal a boring show. His incorporation of the spectators into his onstage antics keeps us on our toes – whether it be in anticipation or anxiety. Furthermore, the emphasis on non-verbal communication focuses his attention on physical interaction. He manages to wordlessly order the audience to accompany his movements with the appropriate sounds. This level of involvement feels unique and somewhat captivating. While this is a one-man show, it takes everyone in the room to make it a success.
The silence also allows the clown to turn miniscule movements in a comic performance. Watching him remove a policeman’s hat merely through contorting his face was a particular triumph. The focus on physical comedy also universalises the performance, as it makes it accessible in every language.
While it has its merits, this show certainly is not for everyone – by the end of the performance the audience had halved. That said, it is certainly interesting and at the very least amusing. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll definitely remember it, which is quite a feat with the onslaught of show after show this month. If you really, honestly want to see something truly different, see this. Go on. It’s free after all.