Monday, June 15, 2015

The Halfwits' Last Hurrah (review)

Spoilers ahoy!

After seeing this latest show by the Four Clowns, I kept thinking about comedy. About what makes something funny. The Halfwits' Last Hurrah should not have been as funny as it is. Yet I and the audience laughed too many times to count--often at things that should have felt tragic.

Why, I wondered?

Part of it of course consisted of skill on the part of the entire cast--which proved transcendent! Comedy, as we know (don't we?) depends so very much on timing. The entire company--Tyler Bremer, Jennifer Carroll, Charlotte Chanler, Don Colliver, Julia Davis, Jamie Franta, Elizabeth Godley, Dave Honigman, Benji Kaufman, Jolene Kim, Jamarr Love and Helene Udy--all me the standards I've come to expect from this group. Not simply a matter of timing, but just as vital is an attitude that helps us ease into the world of the show. A world in many ways quite terrible. Yet, a delight! A frolic! An uplifting dream of awkward, flawed glory.

Again--why? At heart I suppose it has something to do with the fabric of mythology. In countless myths and pantheons we meet trickster gods and sacred fools. What else is a clown show if not an enactment of precisely that?

In this case taking the idea quite far, and very deep. Not only are the characters clowns in terms of character type, they are in fact clowns by profession! Or Fools at any rate. Not-too-rude Mechanicals (except the Inderdorf twins--master and mistress of the double ententre!) trying to put on a show while facing the malignant will of an Enemy, The Real McCoy! He (she?) and his/her henchmen seek to destroy the troop for some reason. Who can say why? Adulthood trying to smother the wonder in the
heart of the child in each of us? Straight lines trying to hammer out each and every curve? An Apollonian avatar attacking a Dionysian out of automatic malice? All of these and more, most likely.

Eventually, as I got home and got ready for bed (exhaustion may have helped me reach this idea) it seemed to me looking for reasons is secondary, at best. This may have some lovely ideas within, but more than anything else the show remains a dream, an experience. We've wandered through the looking glass of our minds and seen the world entire through a different lens!

Yeah, I like it. In fact, I loved it.

For the record, I would also recommend it especially to anyone trying to perform any of the major works of Chekhov (but by saying that I'm just showing off I do in fact have a theater degree!)

The Halfwits' Last Hurrah plays at The Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way (Santa Monica is the cross street), Los Angeles, CA 90038 at Thursday, June 18 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, June 20 at 11:55pm and Tuesday, June 23 at 8:30pm and finally Friday, June 26 at 10:30pm.

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