Last Clown on Earth

Derevo are a legend. This is not clowning Coco-style, but dark, surreal and dreamlike with an apocalyptic vision tempered by absurd humour and heart-wringing moments of pathos. The company have been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for 20 years and their latest show, Last Clown On Earth is as weird and magical as word of mouth promised. Dresden-based, Anton Adassinski, who founded the company in Saint Petersburg in 1988, has declared that he has at last grown-up and become a superman for this is the first time he has a solo show.

No other show in the Edinburgh Fringe will run you through the whole gamut of emotions like this one

Shaven-headed, gaunt, dressed in rags, Adassinski makes a poor specimen for a hero, but miming putting on Superman gear and toting an imaginary laser gun, he tries to break through an invisible wall and fails, only to find that divesting himself of all this gear, he can enter a doorway, just as an ordinary man. In fact, he becomes a sort of Everyman on a journey through chaos as the sun explodes and silver fragments fall from the sky.

Aided by expressive sound effects and iconic moments of stunning visual imagery, (which, though often enigmatic, will stay in your mind) Adassinski stumbles into one surreal happening after another, sometimes in the form of weird, inexplicable objects on stage, ( my favourite is the red, upside-down sculptured baby’s legs worn as a hat) and also graphics reminiscent of Dadaist art on a screen at the back with which he interacts. At one point, he mimes a fluttering bird in his hands which is thrown into the screen and turns into thousands of tiny upside-down men in black and white check suits, mirroring the same suit that Adassinski now wears. At another point, he appears to run into the screen, up the graphics of stairs to encounter God and the Devil, no longer graphics, but filmed actors blown-up like giants, in rather scruffy, stereotypical costumes, all the more funny for it. Remonstrating with God, it is clear, that Adassinski is blaming him for the mess the world is in.

The scenes with God and the Devil are sheer pantomime and the comedic enactment of the Garden of Eden is hilarious. Adassinski’s pouting, simpering Eve is a delight as is his Adam who is more interested in admiring his own muscles but Adassinski’s own interpretation of the murderous consequences are grim. As each scene or image morphs unexpectedly into another, the show becomes darker and darker. Horrific images such as a film of a man with a bloody brain exposed, another with black gunk dripping from his nose are randomly alternated with an enormous red balloon-like object that hangs from Adassinski’s nose but end up thrown into the audience, as do many more objects. Beware if you choose to sit in the front row.

The show ends with a similar swerve from the ridiculous; an ironic portrait of a rich man obsessed with his red car which he can only squat in as it’s so small, to a sudden switch to the theme of death. For all his riches, the millionaire is unhappy for he must die. This is the nearest to a political critique we get for the show is more about the elemental facts of common humanity. The resulting funeral procession with coffin is only the prelude to a cataclysmic ending. No more humour, but a shocking, drawn-out end with full, devastating sound effects and visuals, to rival a Wagnerian opera’s end of the world which left the audience shaken. No other show in the Edinburgh Fringe will run you through the whole gamut of emotions like this one, with such inventive, surprising and explosive imagery that you enter another world, enigmatic, elusive but still recognisably our own.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Scottish Ballet

The Secret Theatre

Traverse Theatre

Antigone, Interrupted

Festival Theatre

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

Royal Lyceum Theatre

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol

Festival Theatre

Rite of Spring

Dance Base

Juliet & Romeo


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Celebrating 20 years since their Fringe debut, multi award-winning Russian physical theatre company Derevo return with their latest masterpiece. Through mime, butoh and spectacular visuals and sound, a deeply fallen and pushed around Anton Adasinky immortalises the cosmic figure of the clown, full of inner joy yet trapped in a never ending cycle of self-sacrifice and rebirth. Forever – with a smile. 'Physical theatre at its most daring and spectacular. Beguiling and mystifying in equal measure' (Metro). 'Their dreamlike visions are haunting... This ensemble's intensity and ragged beauty grip like a vice' (Independent on Sunday).

Most Popular See More

Les Miserables

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets