Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Strawberry by Fraser Hooper, March 21, 2006

Strawberry by Fraser Hooper (England)
Commonwealth Games Arts Festival
Fed Square Amphitheatre and Alexander Gardens Palm Stage until March 26, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on March 21, 2006

Fraser Hooper’s character, Strawberry, is an engaging and gentle clown that appeals to children and adults alike.

Strawberry works on the ground, at the level of the children, not on the stage. His entire show incorporates members of the audience, mostly children. He manages to work the audience without using any words, giving instructions to an entire crowd with a whistle and plenty of mimetic gestures.

The children who join him on stage are teased gently, given tasks such as holding and passing the juggling balls or setting up and playing the snare drum.

He gets mileage out of having several children hold up a pointed finger. With one, Strawberry pretends to pick his nose with the child’s finger. He uses another’s finger as a coat rack.

One child wears Strawberry’s coat and becomes a simple and ingenious coat puppet.

An adult pair plays clown badminton with Strawberry controlling the ball on a stick. A group of burly men engage in a tug of war with four tiny kids who win - with Strawberry’s assistance.

Strawberry is a subtle and charming clown for the whole family.

By Kate Herbert

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