And Then the Rodeo Burned Down

Russian Doll meets clowns in And Then the Rodeo Burned Down, a circular metaphysical piece that combines elements of dance, comedy and mystery to form a labyrinth equivalent of a show. This charmingly funny play from Chloe Rice and Natasha Roland turns into a flamingly energetic and entertaining whodunnit featuring elements of clowning; infusing humour into otherwise complex discussions of reality and arson.

A flamingly energetic and entertaining whodunnit

And Then the Rodeo Burned Down seems to contain two acts: the first which is largely narrative about Dale (Rice), their life at the rodeo, and how his reality and perception of the rodeo is affected by the appearance of their shadow, Dilly Dally (Roland). The second act follows two but incredibly self-aware characters who look to find a way towards the end of the play and finally find out who burned down the rodeo.

The natural and surreal blend and intertwine as the show inches towards its natural conclusion. The script is incredibly clever, if not complicated, going from a narrative to abstract consciousness as the characters build the rest of the play before our eyes, and to that end, we feel more involved in the show itself because rarely do we only know as much as the characters onstage. The show itself is put on trial as there is only one thing that we all know for certain - that the rodeo burns down, and watching the two performers intricately weave their gags and scenes to reach the end is amusingly confusing. It’s an incredibly original idea, and thoroughly enjoyable as the running jokes and dance sequences hide the more ominous atmosphere that the title suggests.

Rice and Roland’s performance is seamless, as they switch between and swap characters, as if they were snakes shedding their skins. They match each other step for step, character for character, talent for talent, as if they were two halves of the same whole. They play off of each other, bouncing and challenging their scene partner as they make logical progressions in their deductions. There is a give and take between the pair that appears almost second nature to them, leading to physical forms of comedy that is like looking into a mirror or seeing double, so in sync are Rice and Roland.

Someone certainly started the fire, and this show is certainly worth the blaze. There are only so many words a reviewer can afford, but And Then the Rodeo Burned Down is certainly worth a whole lot of them.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

It certainly ain’t their first rodeo when this pair of clowns are trapped in a time loop.

It’s the best place in the world so why would anyone burn it down? Can these two cowboys figure it out before time is up? In this thrilling hour of clowning, physical theatre & comedy it's a race against time to capture the culprit, put out the metaphorical fires & save the show. 

Originally performed for a single week at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, And Then the Rodeo Burned Down was extended after picking up rave reviews & a coveted Edinburgh Fringe First Award which resulted in a sold-out run. This thrilling, joyful & heart-wrenching show comes direct from NYC to make its London debut for a limited run following critical acclaim from its premiere. Scored, like any modern-day Western, by Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Miley Cyrus, And Then the Rodeo Burned Down is a physical comedy and clowning spectacular that will leave you questioning the true events of this rodeo, just like the characters trapped inside of it.

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