“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men”. This closing comment of Juncture Theatre’s A Little Nonsense- swiped from none other than the master of nonsense himself, Roald Dahl- is a perfect summation of this hilariously intense and at points, quite violent, evening of theatre.
Sitting completely clueless as to where the narrative was going to take us, from dark to light and back to dark again, it was impossible as an audience not to find ourselves revelling in the unpredictably nonsensical absurdity that was being played out before us.
Following a highly endearing, yet painfully naïve clown as he suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands, mouth and at one stage, urine of his non-clown companion I was completely enthralled. As I strived to pull out an allegory or social critique to account for these plot moments of dark madness, I was quickly stolen away by the next practical joke or ludicrous story. It was quite fortunate that the abusive rantings were simultaneously short circuited by the comparative optimism of whoever at that moment was playing the clown, as it was not wholly enjoyable to witness the sinister overbearing of a character as he degraded his only on stage companion.
For a short while there was a slightly misplaced third character in the form of what appeared to be a singing garden gnome, possibly referring to the clown’s earlier poem on the subject. It was uncertain whether the gnome wanted us to join in with her song, her encouraging grin may have suggested so, but this interruption seemed a little unnecessary, as it was the relationship between the two male charterers that was so captivating.
The slapstick routine involving umbrellas posed as guns and a kazoo imitating a duck was a joyful highlight but one that was all too quickly brought back down to a more sinister level by an incredibly dark interjection of one of the characters almost successfully encouraging the clown to take his own life, which he played out like it was a game.
For such an outstanding piece of theatre, they definitely deserved more audience members than attended and it is a real shame that they haven’t got a longer run. The vast repertoire of these two actors was explored in full on this tiny stage as they switched repeatedly from clowning to poetry to mime and between characters; it was genuinely faultless, even if what they were doing was “a little nonsense”.