Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh
Female clowns are hardly a new phenomenon (there were the glee-maidens of medieval England, for example, or the famous Columbine, Franceschina and Smeraldina characters from Commedia dell Arte), but it’s certainly rare to see a contemporary clown show centred entirely on the tribulations of teenage girls. The characters, Morro and Jasp (Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee), are sisters and, in this latest offering, they ‘do puberty.’ And boy, do they do puberty.
I’d never have thought it, but actually clowning seems like the natural form for an exploration of a young girl’s angst. The exaggerated, melodramatic nature of the genre is ideally suited to the heightened emotions and over-reactions we all experience when we’re growing up. Getting your first period is hugely important when you’re a teenage girl, and it really does matter if your little sister gets hers first. Annis and Lee completely nail the sisters’ conflicting emotions: Morro’s disgust at having to take time off from soccer-baseball because of all this icky adult stuff; Jasp’s desperate longing for a boy to put her on his list. These are feelings we can all relate to – men and women – because we’ve all experienced the hell of puberty.
Annis and Lee are consummate clowns, imbuing the simplest of ideas with life and vigour. This is fresh, funny and insightful comedy, and definitely worth seeing.