Hip Shot: Delusions of Grandeur
Fort Fringe – Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar
July 19, 9 p.m.
July 24, 8:30 p.m.
July 25, 6 p.m.
July 28, 2:15 p.m.
Catherine's Take: Three clowns walk into a tent.... But seriously, folks, I've heard that a clown is a mime with props, but in Delusions of Grandeur the main clown is a classically trained actor with props...and props...and props.
I've seen Clown Cabaret before and enjoyed their format: various acts — stand-up, music, sketch comedy, juggling – each performed by a different artist. In Delusions of Grandeur, these acts are loosely tied together around the premise that leader Matt Pauli wants to put his Shakespearean training to use. Co-clowns Karen Beriss and Rich Potter try to help, but do everything oh-so-wrong. "I had dreams, so many things I wanted to do.." muses Pauli while mopping up the mess his colleagues have made.
Speaking of mess, beware the splash zone in the front — unless you think a little water might feel good in the un-airconditioned tent. But the heat didn't diminish the performers' energy in this extremely physical show.
Delusions of Grandeur is advertised as a show for 13 and up, so I brought along a 14-year old to see if the middle-school set would get the jokes. His verdict? Funny! He was especially gratified that the Shakespeare quotes were ones he recognized. Oddly, his favorite sketch involved old-time gangsters — the kinds with pinstriped suits and a violin case. I figured this would go past anyone who didn't know who Edward G. Robinson was, but there's a reason why certain bits are classics. jokes, it didn't matter if a few fell flat. In a couple of spots, the apparent clunkers were actually set ups for the real gag.
Some gags were a bit rough on opening night, but the show was still very, very, funny. My favorite sketches included a giant chicken, acupuncture, and audience involvement in the escalation of the Capulet-Montague feud. The show begins with Beriss tracing the clown's evolution from Arlecchino to Charlie Chaplin to Warner Brothers cartoons; you will see a glimpse of almost every imaginable kind of clowning in Delusions of Grandeur.
Playwright: Clown Cabaret
Show length: 75 minutes
See it if: You like your classics served with ham and whipped cream.
Skip it if: The variety-show format leaves you cold.