Less a solo-performance, more an exercise in terrorizing the audience, Cirque du Soleil clown Eric Davis coyly emerges from behind a curtain upstage to reveal an exaggeratedly bulbous and lumpen form clad in stretchy red spandex. Red-hooded, bare-footed and strutting like a chicken, Davis takes to the empty stage and for the course of his 80-minute, one act show proceeds to interrogate audience members, aggressively insisting on participation and extracting private hopes, dreams, details such as where they work and if they like their job. He grimaces at us, glaring with demonic eyes, rimmed with red eye shadow. This audience interaction forms the sum total of this unusual “performance” – confessional at times and confrontational and challenging at others.
And somehow it’s really raucously funny.
“Welcome to the theater of life,” he announces. “Something interesting must happen every 10 seconds!” Davis is intent on playing with audience’s expectations of immediate entertainment. At one point he impels the audience to jump up and swap seats – chaos ensues – and later incites an exciting competition between the two sides of the house.
With Red Bastard Davis brings a salacious, lip-smacking, profane, punk-rock (“bouffon”) style to his clowning, increasingly pushing the limits of what makes you, the audience member, uncomfortable.
As he reminds us, theater is “the only medium where you get to be with the performer when they create their art,” and Davis exposes himself in the most honest and raw way at the same time as harassing his audience.
It’s a sobering reminder of how far theater can go.
Eric Davis is currently appearing in Cirque du Soleil’s Hollywood spectacle Iris.
By Eric Davis.
At Artworks Theater, Hollywood, first Monday of every month, 8 p.m.
Resumes from August through Dec. 3, 2012 (check site for info.)
6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-871-1912
For more information on all Hollywood Fringe Festival plays, visit their official site.
Here’s an updated show list of my full length reviews. Click on the active links in the play’s title to go to its review page.
ArtsBeatLA HIT LIST:
FRIDAY, June 8
SATURDAY, June 9
NO WAY AROUND BUT THROUGH – Falcon Theater, Toluca Lake
SUNDAY, June 10
JENNIFER ANISTON STOLE MY LIFE – unreviewed
Tuesday, June 12
BEFORE THE RED TREES COME 916A Formosa
FRIDAY June 15
MIXED PERSONALITY DISORDERS – Theatre Asylum
POOL (NO WATER) – Flight Theatre at The Complex
FILTHY LIARS – The Complex – East Theater
SATURDAY June 16
FOUR CLOWNS: THAT BEAUTIFUL LAUGH – Open Fist Theater
TUESDAY, June 19
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET – Pantages (not Fringe)
THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM – Rogue Machine (not Fringe)
WHERE THE GREAT ONES RUN – Rogue Machine (not Fringe)
FRIDAY June 22
LOST MOON RADIO
SATURDAY June 23
MISSION TO MATE
JITNEY (not Fringe)
What the other critics are saying:
Sharon Perlmutter over at TALKIN BROADWAY.COM, has reviewed a handful of shows so far. Click on this link to see her reviews of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, The God Particle Complex, Speed Merchant (of Venice) and Tape.