‘Welcome to Clowntown’ Evaluation: Raunchy Tales and Big Balloon Animals
According to Tanya Perez, the author and performer of “Welcome to Clowntown,” strippers and clowns have the identical modus operandi, which incorporates common dancing whereas carrying child apparel. She would know: She’s executed each jobs.
In this unripe one-woman present, Perez, as Pixie the Clown, performs her occasion act for the viewers whereas regaling them with tales of her profession as a clown-for-hire (and extra) in New York City and Los Angeles.
As Pixie, Perez is wearing a vivid ensemble designed by Lisa Renee Jordan with polka dots, corkscrew ribbons, a purple petticoat, a purple corset and sparkly Chuck Taylors. She appears to have executed all of it, from stripping to bartending: events spent placating hostile adults, catering to gross fraternity brothers and serving drinks for one of many Real Housewives. (Don’t ask which one; she signed a nondisclosure settlement.)
And then in fact there’s clowning, which she began doing in faculty, amusing obnoxious children for beer cash. That’s why, she publicizes, with an unprintable phrase, that she hates your youngsters.
Perez has crafted a type of rudimentary stand-up routine, however it’s gentle on snappy punch strains and lacks a cohesive narrative construction. Most of her tales keep near the floor, barely mining their comedian potential or private or political stakes. She will get into misogyny within the unique dancing world, racist microaggressions within the clowning world (she is Latina, and describes one boss who anticipated her to be the “hip-hop clown”) and the category divide at play in each. But these themes principally float on the margins.
Produced by the Tank and billed as an “grownup immersive expertise,” “Welcome to Clowntown” encourages viewers participation. Perez makes balloon animals for the viewers and performs video games like rock, paper, scissors and phone, however that hardly appears to qualify the work as immersive theater. As a end result, the present feels underinflated, regardless of its fleet 60-minute operating time. The erratic route, by Lorca Peress, exacerbates the issue, fumbling the transitions between Perez’s monologues and the occasion video games.
Perez is vigorous, with a chuckle that’s someplace between the jovial trill of SpongeBob and the tee-hees of Skeletor. But typically her efficiency feels rehearsed as an alternative of spontaneous, even a bit indifferent, regardless of the intimate area with fewer than 50 seats and a small, unadorned stage.
Near the tip, Perez wrestles a large balloon animal the best way “Clowntown” wrestles in a message concerning the significance of play and fostering one’s interior little one. Still, don’t let the expletives idiot you: This could also be clowning for adults, however “Clowntown” nonetheless has some rising as much as do.
Welcome to Clowntown
Through May 13 on the Tank, Manhattan; thetanknyc.org. Running time: 1 hour.