Bad Clowns: Cult Classic

If you’re ever feeling stressed or exhausted by the craziness of the Edinburgh Fringe, just remember this: the Lunar God Nallagog loves you, and he wants you to join him on his glorious utopia on the Moon. While we’re still on Earth though, he just requires a few small things, like a contract selling off your entire life to his devotion, and a renunciation of all your worldly possessions, and just a little bit of your sweet, sweet human blood…

May be the kind of entertainment that will satisfy your frustrated blood lust

The Bad Clowns take high-concept comedy to new and perilous heights with an hour of cheery song, dance, improv and human sacrifice. The show begins with terrifying proclamations of the coming new world before our glorious Moon Ambassadors Sam Walls (founding member) and Christian Dart (eldest member) break into a fun little song titled Our God’s Better Than Yours! Aside from their wearing eldritch-style robes, the Bad Clowns’ smiling and anti-swearing policy (Nallagog cries tears that warm the planet every time they swear) are very modern cult tactics. The Bad Clowns never name-drop any specific modern cults, but their presentation is a wonderful blend of Scientology and the Order of Dagon.

When over-enthusiastic “member of the public” John Bond jumps in to join the cult, the proceedings begin. There’s a lot of enjoyable audience participation, with one lucky member brought on stage to sacrifice Bond. Only those with a pureness of spirit can sacrifice the required victim, of course. For those fainter of heart there’s an especially funny sequence where Walls and Dart ask audience members what the worst thing they’ve ever stolen is, and who would they kill with no repercussions attached: in this case the answers were Pokémon cards and Wayne Rooney respectively.

Walls and Dart are charismatic cult leaders. They win over the crowd with a wonderful blend of earnestness and cheerfulness, like any good cultist you might meet at your front door. They have a lot of fun with wordplay, “Let us prepare for our Demons…Tration,” and work well with some of the more bizarre audience members, (Wayne Rooney? Okay, sure I guess…?) and have a fun bantering relationship with one another. Bond, while set apart from the duo, has some especially funny and oddball moments.

The action’s momentum does fumble sometimes, especially in moments where the ceremony has to supersede the comedy, but this is clearly due to the trio’s wavering devotion to Nallagog. Can they really call themselves true believers when they won’t even massacre the entire audience in the name of the Lunar God? The trio are best when they’re pulling off comedic set pieces and interacting with the audience, so maybe they aren’t the best people for bringing about Nallagog’s ancient prophecy and resurrection after all.

If you were looking for a glorious cult to join, this may not be the place for you, but if you’re looking for a fun, cult-themed Fringe show inside an appropriately dark, foreboding venue, then Bad Clowns: Cult Classic at The Caves may be the kind of entertainment that will satisfy your frustrated blood lust.

Reviews by Euan Brook

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Performances

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The Blurb

An interactive show where the audience finds themselves in the hands of three friendly faces of a demonic cult. Join Sam, Christian and John as they race to educate the modern masses, save the believers and secure their place at the right-hand side of an ancient murderous god. With rituals, sacrifice and laughs aplenty, the Bad Clowns hope to either save or eternally damn your souls. They’re not bothered which. Do you dare to join? 'A slick, briskly paced and wonderfully anarchic production' ***** (LondonTheatre1.com). 'A fast-paced hour of delectable silliness' **** (ThreeWeeks).

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