Thursday, 13 April 2006

LaLaLuna, The Shneedles, April 13, 2006

LaLaLuna by The Shneedles
Melbourne Comedy Festival
Umbrella Revolution, Federations Square, April 13 to May 3, 2006

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Wolf Bowart, member of the clown company, The Shneedles, from the USA, presents a delectable solo clown show called LaLaLuna.

The story begins with a sleepy little guy wearing his fleecy pyjamas and silky dressing gown (Bowart). He switches on the moon before he crawls under his quilt to go to sleep hugging his toy rabbit. To his dismay, the moonlight goes out and he must find a way to re-ignite the moonglow.  

The show is saturated with Bowart’s charming and consummate clown routines. The story is merely a vehicle for a series of slapstick routines, visual gags, illusions and juggling in the tradition of the classic French clown. He uses repetition, exaggeration, absurd and surprising sounds and perky gypsy or French music.

Every effort to ignite the light fails. Firstly, he tries to fly up to it on a unicycle. next, he attempts to climb a veritable Everest of old suitcases to pull on the light’s string. He searches for tools and finds a plumber’s plunger and uses it to listen to his heart, his head and then to the eccentric noises in the heads of audience members.

He finds a box of old light globes and excitedly tosses them around and, finally smashes the entire box.

Each time he fails to light the moon, he gets disillusioned then distracted. He carries on with his housework and his feather dusters become a giant bird. His shoe is the head of a big ostrich trying to reach the moon.

Objects magically appear from the wings or are suddenly animated; lights go on and off at will and sound effects seem to emanate from all sorts of silent and inanimate sources.

He finds himself in the land of opposites where things that should be light re heavy, those that should be light are dark.

He juggles ultra-violet balls of light in the darkness and pops balls out of his mouth. He uses his vacuum cleaner to inflate an enormous balloon only to stuff his head inside it and then his entire body. The audience of teenagers is delighted.

He animates a drawing of a ukulele and performs a duet of On Moonlight Bay with a young audience member who accompanies him on some carefully tuned whoopee cushions.

The highlight is the final cunning illusion of himself projected onto the improvised washing line screen. As he watches himself on screen, he hands himself objects, blows bubbles that appear to move between reality and the screen reality and, finally, his illusory self hands him a light globe.

The moon is relit, all is well with the world and now we can all get some sleep.

By Kate Herbert

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