Mopey The Clown

Fri 4th – Sat 12th August 2017

reviews

Chloe Moloney

at 09:38 on 6th Aug 2017

0agrees

0disagrees

‘Mopey the Clown’ is a non-verbal, physical theatre production concerning the position of Mopey (Guy Woods) as a highly anxious teenager in a frenetic and garish world. Throughout the piece Mopey attempts to squeeze comfortably into the most highly-concentrated aspects of contemporary society, highlighting the faults and fissures in our societal expectations.

As an audience member, it is easy to slip into the darkened abyss of the spectator seats, losing a sense of individual identity and merging into one voice. When Mopey attempts to seduce a young girl, the feverish display of peer pressure invites the audience to push Mopey clearly out of his comfort zone. The outlandish and feisty ensemble are like a pack of wolves, poking and prodding Mopey further out of societal acceptance. The audience laugh and chuckle at his misfortune, yet on the surface lies trivialising humour of his most dark suffering. The presence of stereotypical stock characters such as the lustful girl in a bralet and short shorts, and the shirtless men puffing out their chests in a cockish manner, allowed Mopey’s predicament to be most applicable to those finding themselves in similar positions to his own.

Youthful sexuality is also addressed by the group. A natural exploration of sexuality is shunned and ridiculed by the introduction of pornography. On the surface Mopey’s sexual fantasies are undeniably a source of entertainment until the humorous layers are shed and the harrowing consequences of commercially fabricated sex are revealed. The portrayal of masculinity is similarly emphatic. The gym scenes and their representation of male strength herald the perspective that instead of admitting defeat, men should get back up and show no remorse or crack of composure. The mirror is most telling of Mopey’s deflated sense of self-worth, undoubtedly fuelled by the damning views of those around him. For someone who is broken by ordinary activities, upon witnessing such displays of perceived masculinity Mopey is subsequently weakened and subdued because his natural element does not fit into the frenzied building blocks of society.

Aside from the production’s success, one drawback of the show lies in its physicality. As the play remains non-verbal, for audience members who are unfamiliar with physical theatre and all that it encompasses this may be a hindrance to a complete comprehension of the subtleties of the performance. However, it could be argued that this production invites the audience to first mock Mopey with the hope of intense reflection after its severely dramatic finale. The voices of derision which haunt Mopey unravel the gritty darkness behind the laughter. Perhaps we should consider building each other up, instead of being poised to tear each other down for our own benefit. Despite the farcical physicality, the sentiment and crucial heart of the message is one that should linger in one’s conscience.

agree
disagree

Charlotte Lock

at 09:59 on 6th Aug 2017

0agrees

0disagrees

The Clinch Theatre Company presents ‘Mopey The Clown’, a unique production of physical theatre confronting modern social issues unusually, and entirely, without the use of speech. Guy Woods, who plays Mopey, struggles through societal challenges, through the guise of a clown used to illustrate his loneliness. The physical drama of this production is commendable. The outstanding use of body language was essential to the functioning of the performance, even the set changes became an integral part of the show, as all movement was thoroughly embraced. However, the comedy was arguably taken to such an extent that it was overdramatic. Despite this, without the element of speech, such overt physicality may have been required in parts, but this rendered the show somewhat garish. In particular, the fourth wall was broken to such an extent that actors were climbing into the audience - this is not a show for the faint hearted. The actors’ interaction with the audience did, however, prove amusing on a number of occasions, but be aware that sitting in the front row will guarantee contact!

This production is brimming with creative ideas, from costumes to sound effects and from props to movement, all making it a piece of revolutionary theatre. Audience members will recall the repeated significance of balloons within the performance, notably at the finale, enabling the company to address the devastating issue of suicide through a new and memorable approach. Moreover, two company members dressed in fluorescent gear and hard hats must be applauded in providing much of the soundtrack and effects all live and so seamlessly that it is not apparent that it is unrecorded. The show tackles gender stereotypes uniquely through costume design, with men possessing visibly fake muscles, further seen in an innovative mirror displaying ‘perfection’ – another man in costume to which Mopey must compare himself. This image was developed through the use of primitive grunts as though reverting back to pre-language communication, further critiquing such typecasting. It is these abstract elements which are critical to the success of the piece and show the production and company members to have great potential.

The company directly addressed a number of issues, from peer pressure, with which the audience themselves were frequently encouraged to join in, to drugs, steroids, pornography and even suicide. The level of audience participation was to such an extent that they were arguably part of the reason behind the resonating impact of the finale, which went far beyond passively watching a production. The audience follows Mopey’s journey, witnessing his many interactions with others which ultimately end in his embarrassment and mockery. Thus, the audience observes his gradual breakdown, culminating as he begins to hear the voices of those who have mocked him becoming deafening, yet it remains ambiguous as to whether these voices are from within his head or from the outside world. The piece ultimately takes a much darker turn than may originally have been expected, with quite chilling results, highlighting prominent mental health issues. However, the blend of comedy and the harsh reality of the social issues addressed proves to be distinctly controversial but nonetheless memorable.

agree
disagree

Audience Avg.

0 votes, 0 comments

Click here for more event information

cast involved

other events on

Version 0.3.7a