Saturday, 11 August 2007

LaLaLuna by Wolfe Bowart, Aug 11, 2007

LaLaLuna by Wolfe Bowart
by Spoon Tree Productions
Where and When: Aug 11-12 Clocktower; Aug 18-19, 2007 Frankston Arts Centre.
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 11, 2007

LaLaLuna, a delightful one-man clown show by US clown, juggler, magician and acrobat, Wolfe Bowart, returns to Melbourne venues as part of a nationwide tour.

“What if one night the light of the moon went out,” says a haunting voice over celestial music at the start of the show. Bowart’s character, dressed in daggy pyjamas, a red silky robe and a nightcap, enters through the audience, brushing his teeth and preparing for bed. The problem is that he cannot go to sleep because the moon refuses to stay alight and, while he
searches for a way to reach the giant orb with a new light bulb, he entertains himself and us with a grab bag of tricks and illusions.

As is the norm for any good clown, his attempts to solve his problem are foiled at every turn. His tall unicycle and wings fall to pieces, his box of light bulbs is smashed and every corner seems to be inhabited by marauding fluffy bunnies.

While he waits for sleep to come, Bowart’s cute clown fills the night hours juggling anything that comes to hand: scarves, dinner plates, helium balloons and mysteriously luminescent balls. The children squeal with delight when he climbs inside a giant balloon with only his head emerging like some alien organism and when he transforms into a peculiar emu-like
creature with a boot for its head and feather dusters for plumage.

He incorporates the audience into the action in inventive ways. He uses a plumber’s plunger to check the brain activity of various audience members and sends enormous, cratered, moon balls bouncing over our heads. But when he invites a young boy on stage with him the house erupts – in more ways than one. While Bowart plays Moonlight Bay on the ukulele, the boy accompanies him with five whoopee cushions that provide hilarious percussion.

The play ends with an inspired use of visual technology as Bowart performs with a second version of himself on screen. The final solution to relighting the moonlight is both lyrical and ingenious.

This short show worked better uninterrupted by an interval and in an intimate venue as it was in its original 2006 version, but it is still fun and engaging for both children and adults.

By Kate Herbert

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