By Stanley Allan Sherman
Produced by: Burning Clown Productions in-participation with WorkShop Theater Company
One-audience members after the show I heard saying to Mister and Missus Clown, “Thank you this is just what I needed!” Which is what entertainment is required to do. Give the audience a place to forget their troubles, laugh with and at the truth in our world or just laugh.
A great variety show has a variety of elements, moods, edginess and this one was loaded with plenty. A very full house for their opening of this late nigh show everyone was laughing from begin to end. The show starts before it starts. As the audience is coming in the troupe of fresh clowns of “Fools School Academy Players” were playing a version of a game of 1,2,3 stop, a kind of tag game that I have not seen since I was in grade school. Mind you when I was studying at Ecole Jacque Lecoq in Paris, France in the early 70’s we never played games like this. The game helped transfer everyone into a having fun time. There was a clown named Hambone (Margo Hammond) that was giving out slices of ham as people came into the box office area. Another Peppermint Patsy (Clare Patterson) was giving out candy. There was also CurlyBurly (Stefania Diana Schramm), Crump (Richard Kent Green) and of course Mister Clown (Mike Smith Rivera) and Missus Cordella Clown (Kelly Ann Burns). With Missus Cordella Clown and others giving out free popcorn to the audience throughout the evening. You also got a free drink for the price of admission; an interesting drink called Fun or beer and the usual.
The show starts with the MC’s of the evening Mister and Missus Clown and the full moon. It was a full moon on this late night show. But from the back curtain we see Crump mooning us with his pants part way down with a plastic bare ass butt. This is my only real criticism of the evening. It is a late night 10 PM show. If you are going to moon the audience, really moon the audience with real bare ass – it is so much more effective and funnier.
The first act was Rhonda Hansome, who was truthfully hitting that sharpness of funny. Commenting about the, “second term of our half black President” and much more. Joked about how her race changes what is appropriate to call ourselves, African American, Black or ______. We where laughing throughout her hard hitting comedy and it was a very strong opening for the show. How do you follow this act?
There was a nice transition into Will Shaw, whom I have seen many times. But tonight Will was especially great with a very relaxed right on timing. Performers improve and the more they perform the better they get. Will has the experience and talent of being funny no matter what he does. He is one of the true world masters of spinning tops*, all kinds and sizes of tops. (*Point of information I only know two top spinners that use tops in their performances, Will and Keith Nelson and I have heard Keith give praise that Will is top of the tops in NYC.) He does things with tops that you should not be able to do. There were hoots, ahs, ooooooooohs and laughing from beginning to end. Another funny transitions by Mister and Missus Clown.
Next up was , (Tanya Solomon) who has been performing in the New York area for two or three years now. This was the most comfortable show I have seen her do and the funniest. Using her magic skills she was very classy with a special type of humor that only she can get away with. She had her special tool that helped an audience volunteer to read the thoughts of a gentleman in the upper row of the theater was amazing. You crank the apparatus one way you read minds, cracking the other way you send out all your thoughts. So one must be careful which way you turn it according to Solomon the Peculiarist. A funny magical performance by Tanya followed by Mister and Missus clown ending the first half of the evening.
The second half opened with the “Fools School Academy Players” and our hosts, then Solomon the Peculiarist made another appearance. There was a piece where three clown witches came out – MC by Mister Clown and the three clowns collected various items from the audience like, ear wax, sweat, something else along with clown witches pee which was put into a black caldron mixed up and the clowns suddenly changed into some of the sexiest clowns I have seen in a long time. Missus clown did have the best out fit. To cap it off a fourth female clown came out realizing she missed the brew. Which seems to have happened before.
Next up was Richard Kent Green singing two songs on a very small banjo, which was a great change of tempo for the evening.
There was another “Fools School Academy Players” piece and then top bill of the evening Juliet Jeske with her humor, music and song. With Juliet everything is there to make fun of… but like a true comic or theatrical fool, it all has an edge and at the same time makes you smile with a very sharp tone, which makes it great funny theater. She is not afraid to go to beyond the comfortable. Yes it does cut with its truthful laughs throughout from the audience. She did two of her original songs, which I am not going to tell you about because I do not want to spoil the surprises. She also turned both songs into a sing along. Juliet’s second piece had that great social commentary of funny truths that we look for in great works by true Theatrical Fools, Clowns and Comics. Juliet Jeske was a strong perfect end to the performances of this special full moon evening. Which did not end.
What was great is all five top acts were very different, with different moods making a great evening. Our hosts for the evening along with their “Fools School Academy Players” put together a wonderful late night show. You can tell when a show is great by how fast the audience leaves. At 1:00 AM in the morning people and cast were still dancing. A great deal for $20, which besides laughs also included, ham, pop corn, candy, a drink and dancing. Our producers put together a warm safe carrying place to perform. I hear the next Saturday Full Moon Night Circus might be a few months on the next Saturday night full moon. An important side note – yes the performers where paid!