Lucy Pearman @ Monkey Barrel
There's a surprising emotional edge to the third full-length show from Fringe favourite clown, Lucy Pearman
Everyone has baggage, dragging them down as they try to move forward with their lives. For most people, that baggage is related to family history or past relationships. For Lucy Pearman, it's making a name out of increasingly elaborate homemade costumes and physical absurdity.
Whereas in previous years she has performed as various animals, vegetables and minerals, Pearman is ostensibly performing as Lucy Pearman. For previous fans, this feels like a radical change in style until the first moment of the show, wherein she wobbles through the audience packed inside a giant suitcase.
That suitcase eventually comes off, but makes for an effective double-layered metaphor. The more blatant layer is revealed with ease, but it doubles as the barrier Pearman places between herself and her audience. Trapped inside increasingly ludicrous costumes, she struggles to truly reveal herself to the audience (an endeavour that stretches long beyond faux-nudity into macabre comedy horror). Though this is a metatextual success, it does mean the show lacks the emotional attachment to make the personal moments land.
One of Pearman’s best skills is her ability to make her audience feel comfortable and included, even as she berates and alienates them into looking stupid. The key is that she is always the silliest-looking person on stage and by the end of the show, this technique reaches new heights of glorious ugliness.
The biggest reaction of the show comes not at the show’s emotional reveal, but at the reveal of her ‘crying glasses’. Pearman spends so much time intentionally abstracting herself from her audience that when the reveal comes around, the audience don't know how much emotional weight they should give to it. Undoubtedly though, there is much joy to be had in Pearman's dedication to warmth and emotional connection through absurdity and very silly costumes.
Lucy Pearman: Baggage, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 4), until 25 Aug, 4.30pm, £8/PWYW