Itching at Some Bouffon Scratchings


Bouffon Scratchings at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh:Some thoughts on this dark cabaret

Oh, you naughty little bouffons, bringing a collective nervous chuckle to a gorgeous cabaret setting in Edinburgh. Eyes flashing, they display hilarity, ritual humiliation, shame and anxiety. Like a distorted freak show mirror, they reflect back our shadow selves.Gluttons for punishment, the audience devour it like oysters.

These lascivious and impish bouffon waitresses (Beth Frieden, Jemma Blythe and Charlotte Hastings) have got back- giggling, preening and poking at a prone body on the ground, their remit is to be as socially unfiltered as children, even when the glittering hostess Lucy Amsden sashays on to talk hors d’oeuvres and oozing truffles. It all explodes, naturally enough, with custard… “CUSTARD!CUSTARD!”Nigella would blush.

Andrew Simpson’s a fish out of water, eschewing the hook for- what? Something more tangible, as he shimmies off to an uncertain future. Ronan McMahon is twinklingly self-assured: a louche, Anti-Geldof, he knows where his compadres in corporate banking have hidden the money- and he’s not telling; much less sharing.

Ruxy Cantir and Sita Pieraccini’s grotesque clowns move crab-like as one scabrous unit, the very epitome of entitlement. “#- too soon?” they cackle, referencing the post-Brexit fallout.Homeless people are just so disgusting, no? They prod at this with Prada blinkers on, a deathless duo of snobbery and lunacy, crooning Shine On Homeless Moon .

Shaking The Money Tree isn’t always advisable- you may find it has feelings too. Calum MacAskill’s  tree gives birth to a symbol of hope- until (spoiler alert!!!) it gets yoinked away by the hook.

We are all responsible, this dysfunctional bunch say, as they croon a hellish chorus of I Dreamed A Dream, which is enough to erase Su Bo forever. And the theme has never been more pertinent, the stuff of modern nightmare and self-fulfilling prophecy. Financial instability and an uncertain future- well, it couldn’t happen here. Not while we’re singing. Just keep singing.

(Lorna Irvine)

Bouffon Scratchings is a co-production between Plutot la Vie, Melanie Jordan and Clownstepping

Clown Cabaret:Special Edition is at Tron Theatre, Glasgow (Part of Surge/Conflux) 30th July

Clown Cabaret Scratch Night is at Tron Theatre, Glasgow 29th September-1st October



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