Ericthefred is an ambitious and grand performance. Throughout the hour the audience is witness to video projections, animation, pyrotechnics, live music and mine. A lot of action and tragedy is crammed into the show, as we witness a clown being tormented in a strange fantasy universe where anything goes.
The show begins with the solo performer (Chris Lynam) unenthusiastically entering the theatre space. He is not wearing his full clown costume yet and the audience watches as the performer frustratedly gets dressed and applies his make up. This is done in an over the top buffoon style and evokes Charlie Chaplin at his most humorous and haphazard. During the performance the protagonist is plagued by butterflies who torment and provoke the clown as he attempts to carry out a series of magic tricks. Torment and sadness is a major theme of Ericthefred and the character has to go to humorous lengths to find solitude.
To the front of the stage there is a semi-transparent screen. On this screen video and animation is projected. At times the performer interacts with this video to perform a series of magic tricks. The is element of the performance felt underused. When it was employed it worked well and created a synergy between the clown and the surreal world he inhabits. The style of the projections called to mind German Expressionist cinema and the silent science fiction films of a George Melies. These visuals styles were fitting and helped convey the fantastic and unnerving nature of the clowns existence.
The conclusion of the performance was explosive and over the top. In many ways this sums up the show. Ericthefred is clowning on a large scale, where interesting visual ideas are explored.