Shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award in the Emerging Artist / Company category at last year’s Fringe, Clout return with this truly surprising experiment in tone and form. Is it a clown show about suicide? A live art piece playing with endings? Physical theatre exploring the violent urges shimmering just below the surface of tea drinking society? Whatever it is it’s thoroughly engaging and laugh out loud funny.
The young trio of performers are never less than compelling as they present a series of detailed, believable and utterly distasteful characters examining the causes and moments of their apparent deaths. It’s stylishly prepared, making the very most of the eerie atmosphere of Summerhall’s Dissection Room with a floor to ceiling plastic sheeting that very much sets the tone, and a brilliantly off-key palette of acid yellows and fluorescent pinks in everything from socks to milk.
Each scene is lovingly and thoughtfully crafted and skilfully executed. The content is animated by the absurd, and the company shows a real instinct for creating and plumbing moments that powerfully articulate relationship and identity through weird actions and images that disturb and remain (a collection tin and stair ladder are both put to especially good use). I occasionally wanted the company to articulate their ambitions a little more clearly: there’s a strongly original vision behind this work but I needed a few more explicit offers to fully grasp it. Yet this is the first time in a long time that I’ve spent an entire performance edgily wondering what might happen next, and it’s a real thrill.