Cockpit Theatre, London
Guest reviewer: Lara Alier
I’m sitting in the foyer and haven’t seen my friend for two weeks so we are catching up before the play starts. A man comes and offers us some blueberry, gluten-free pie, then we have a little chat.
He is the performer. He is the director. He is the writer. It only takes him two minutes to charm my friend and me. As we enter the theatre, I take a glance at the stage, and I see an aesthetically beautiful set design. I want this show to be good.
Solo performances are sometimes a hard for me to watch. This piece actually works because it has a full theatrical experience rather than a self-absorbed monologue. He knows how to take care of his audience from the moment he greets us to when he shared some blueberries with us. We participate, without feeling invaded.
The story is set in 1930’s America, where Blueberry the clown has just been left by his wife. He takes us on a journey of redemption, knitting his memories with an honest reflection of his present. Richard Canal takes no prisoners in his performance, and I have to take off my hat for his bravery, boldness and generosity. There should be more artists like him.
However, as his memories unfolded, I keep asking – Why? A clown in the 1930’s? I understand where the clown comes from in Canal’s exploration of naivety and honesty, but why in the US in the 1930’s? It doesn’t quite glue with the blunt and intimate format of the play. I detach at points, drifting away into the clouds.
Cry Blueberry runs through 19 January.
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