An ambitious clown show from veteran performer Chris Lynam,
An intriguing take on life for the ageing performer
The use of projection is initially promising: there is a gauze screen between audience and performer with which Lynam interacts. He dreams and remembers; warped hallucinations that we are able to see as well. It would have been nice to have more of this – as it is, the projections feel slightly underutilised. Moreover, no matter how pathetic, funny or grotesque Lynam’s clowning is, he is ultimately performing behind a barrier and we feel isolated physically and emotionally as a result.
It is, therefore, in the more ‘traditional’ moments of clowning that Lynam reaches his peak. He chases butterflies, plays instruments and, in a brilliantly surreal piece of jet-black comedy, faces death itself. He is a hugely talented performer and the show’s conclusion – his desperation becoming too much for the production to contain – is a Fringe moment to savour.
The original score propels things along nicely and there are moments of wonderful silliness amidst the dark psychology of our faded protagonist. The problem is that the silliness, the darkness and the projections never really cohere. It feels like it’s been planned in sections – one light, one dark, one film, repeat – and while it’s technically well-executed, we never feel connected to ErictheFred or concerned for his wellbeing.
An intriguing take on life for the ageing performer, ErictheFred never goes far enough in any direction to be truly compelling, although no one is doubting Lynam’s impressive clowning skill.