City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bouffon Scratchings, Assembly Roxy, Review

By Justine Blundell - Posted on 28 June 2016

Show Details
Assembly Roxy
Plutot La Vie Theatre Company, CloWnStePPinG (Saras Feijoo) & Melanie Jordan
Lucy Amsden (Thank You For Having Me - writer), Ronan McMahon (Panamanium - writer), Naomi O Kelly (Panamanium - director), Andrew Simpson (Hooked - writer), Ruxy Cantir & Sita Pieraccini (I Am Are Art - writers), Calum MacAskill (The Money Tree - writer).
Calum MacAskill, Lucy Amsden, Ruxy Cantir, Beth Frieden, Charlotte Hastings, Ronan McMahon, Sita Pieraccini, Dylan Read, Max Scratchmann, and Andrew Simpson.
Running time: 

Charmingly grotesque and excitingly strange, Bouffon Scratchings is an evening like no other.

Sitting in the dim light of the atmospheric Assembly Roxy, the first hint that this evening will be unusual is the appearance of three creeping Bouffons. Weaving in and out of the candle-lit circular tables, they get right in the face – and on the laps – of audience members, who smilingly accept the invasion of these comically-distorted, other-worldly creatures.

For those who haven’t come across the like before, a ‘Bouffon’ originally referred to something like a jester. Re-coined by Lecoq in the 60’s, their main focus is the art of mockery, satire, parody. Never, it seems, have we been more in need of this wicked weapon of laughter. And watching it wielded, without prejudice, against the blissful ignorance, shameless hypocrisy and absurd ambitions of our ‘great and good’ society, it has never felt so good just to laugh out loud.

The three non-verbal Bouffons, face-to-toe in monochrome and with enough padding down the back of their trousers to make Kardashian’s bum look cutesy, provide entertaining intermissions and occasional enhancements to some ferocious vignettes. Each looks anew at the nothing-new and throws an odd angle over all of us and all of it.

There’s one that makes a clever connection between tax-avoidance and games of hide and seek; another shows two artists emoting over the sorry condition of a homeless person, whom they transform into a work of art while epically failing to engage with their humanity. Finally, we hear the viewpoint of the roots of all evil in the parable of the money tree, shaken poor thing to within an inch of its life. In and around such thoughtful visions there’s a general sending up of all that is banal and mediocre and an ironic celebration of sentimentality and kitsch.

This uncompromising production is a collaboration between Plutôt La Vie, CloWnStePPinG and Fringe-First winner Melanie Jordan. And this magnificent mother-ship has unleashed these Bouffon, alien invaders of your comfort zone to provide theatre that is entertaining and disconcerting in equal measure. More please.