Anthony J. Piccione, Contributing Critic - New York City
Some people find them entertaining, or at the very least amusing. Others might find them creepy, perhaps to the point where they appear in their nightmares. For a select few, it may be a combination of all of the above. In IRTE’s latest show – which, as the title suggests, is all about evil clowns – that combination is exactly what is shown to theatergoers…although thankfully, it leans far more toward the silly and whimsical side of these characters.
As per usual at IRTE, the show began with characters already appearing slowly on-stage to interact with the audience prior to the start of the show, before eventually taking audience suggestions on the plot of the show that slowly but surely weaved their wave into the show structure during the night, displaying the usual range of skill that comes with both the IRTE regulars in their ensemble, as well as their solid guest performers that they brought in.
Based around the story of two traveling parents and their kids, and their eventual encounters with a group of evil clowns whose tragic origin stories are later revealed, this was yet another example of how IRTE manages to strike a balance between both well-written comedic structure and pure improve, while also using both audience engagement and a creative assortment of props and makeup to stay on a low indie budget and still be uniquely laugh out loud funny.
The one aspect that felt somewhat underwhelming was IRTE regular David Jay’s appearance as musical guest, which didn’t quite mix well with the rest of this mostly laugh-filled show. Indeed, some of their past musical guests have fit much better (i.e. Tym Moss’s rendition of My Heart Will Go On in their Titanic parody this past month), but other times, they tend to be hit or miss, and this was one of those occasions.
Nonetheless, the overall show was certainly enjoyable, and if they ever decided to mount a show at Halloween time, I’d be perfectly okay with them reviving this as it got closer to that time of year. As of 2018, I haven’t missed a single one of IRTE’s shows as a reviewer, although I have to admit, I nearly missed this one due to scheduling. I’m glad I didn’t, as this was easily their best so far of their 2019 season. With one more show in the season left to go this coming June, they’ll have a hard act to follow after this one.
EVIL CLOWNS HAVE FEELINGS TOO
“Evil Clowns Have Feelings Too” stars Claire Kraus, Natalie Hunter, Sam Katz, Tony Bozanich, Ryan Lea, Robert Baumgardner, Jamie Maloney, Isabella Church, and David Jay
“Evil Clowns Have Feelings Too” is conceived by Isabella Church and directed by Nannette Deasy, featuring technical director Will Knapp.
“Evil Clowns Have Feelings Too” – presented by Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble – ended its run at the Producer’s Club, located at 358 W 44th Street, New York, NY, on May 11th. For more information, please visit www.irteinfo.com