nytheatre.com review by Daniel Kelley
October 19, 2007
Ridiculocity is a delightful evening of G-rated clown hijinks, performed with skill and enthusiasm by the youthful clown troupe, the Glass Contraption. This is a show about love and friendship that's family-friendly without being saccharine.
Ridiculocity is the story of a troupe of clowns about to put on "The Amazing Ted Show." When Ted doesn't appear, the clowns are sent into a frenzy of uncertainty. Their whole world revolved around Ted, and now Ted is gone. The rest of the piece is the clowns scrambling about to put on some semblance of a show, and discovering what it means to be on their own. Through different methods of trying to entertain the audience, we get a sense of each clown, and what they want out of life. The premise is simple, clever, and well-executed.
The piece has a multitude of songs in it that are sung and danced well throughout. Katie Down, the composer, does an excellent job of writing some simple, catchy melodies that the cast carry off well. She is also a joy to watch as she performs the musical accompaniment, as the silent Noisy Lady.
The performers are uniformly good. They are each very specific with their clown's characteristics, and each are has a few genuinely funny and touching moments. Of particular note is Andy Grotelueschen, as Francis Francis Donut Burt, who does a particularly good job of making his clown three-dimensional. Francis Francis Donut Burt's stupidity is at once very funny, and quite touching. His disappearing act at the beginning of the show is possibly the funniest routine of the whole night. Piper Harrell also deserves mention as Tina, the most discontented of the clowns. Her "solo" is suitably humorous—a miserable failure as apparent to the audience as it is to her. Her panic is as palpable as it is hilarious.
The only thing that makes the evening drag is the number of musical interludes in the piece. While some of them come out of the dramatic circumstances of the piece (including a delightful rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"), some of the musical numbers, especially towards the end, seem to follow one after another and seem a little forced. All of them, however, are expertly staged, and sung.
Overall, Ridiculocity is charming and well put together. If you're looking for a frothy bit of fun in the NY Clown Theatre Festival, you should check out Ridiculocity. You'll certainly leave with a smile on your face.