Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: ErictheFred, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ben Walters.
Chris Lynam has long been celebrated for his clown work in productions such as Slava’s Snow Show as well as his anarchic, high-octane solo routines on the comedy and cabaret circuit, which typically end with him sticking a firework where the sun don’t shine. He’s always had an abrasive, mildly alarming quality and this ambitious solo show develops both his technique and his character work with impressive, if mixed, results.
ErictheFred is a kind of psychological portrait of an ageing clown, frustrated with his career, troubled by the past, wondering if the future is worth caring about… All this is expressed through a dizzying variety of forms, notably a stage-spanning black gauze screen on to which cleverly conceived video material is projected, but also including acrobatics, tutus, nonsense-speak, butterflies, pyrotechnics and an extraordinary slapstick suicide sequence.
As well as being technically excellent, it’s genuinely perverse and absurd – equal parts David Lynch, Samuel Beckett and Looney Tunes. But while it retains Lynam’s trademark brand of barely suppressed chaotic angst, both the physical gauze and the inward-looking concept put him at a remove, making it harder to feel either jeopardised by his presence or invested in his struggle. Still, a remarkable, distinctive accomplishment.
Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 19 August 2015
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