I have a great admiration for clowning; whilst superficially there is most certainly a stereotype of the heavily made-up children’s entertainer doing nothing more than blowing up dog-shaped balloons and being silly for a couple of hours, there is actually a great deal of technical ability required to clown (especially when utilised in a one-woman show in front of an adult Fringe audience). Mexican clown Gaby Muñoz, the creator and sole performer of
Gaby Muñoz has a gift for challenging our preconceptions, and entertaining with something fresh and alternative.
Taking inspiration from long-lost love, her performance follows her (mostly fruitless) pursuit at finding a husband. We observe her walking down the aisle in her small front room, hand-made toilet-roll bouquet in one hand and a man’s empty tuxedo jacket in the other. It is quite a dark image, but Gaby makes it light-hearted with her wonderfully over-expressive reactions. Soon a suitor is discovered amongst the audience (along with the vicar and bridesmaid) and we take our seats for the big day. Audience participation can quite easily become uncomfortable – especially when it constitutes three-quarters of the action on stage at any one time – but Gaby manages to (non-verbally, no less) instruct each of their individual roles, and continually maintains her place as the star of the scene. Even when the others have particularly humorous moments planned or improvised, Gaby keeps command of the scenes progression whilst giving them their five seconds of fame. I thought this was particularly impressive for a clowning show, as the only tools of communication she has are physicality and over-exaggerated facial expression, and the scene she orchestrates is fairly complex.
Unfortunately, her marriage is not to be. After a particularly complicated (and equally hilarious) wedding night, the piece quickly takes a rather sombre turn. In a turn of events that sees Gaby physically crawl into a pile of papers and cocoon herself on the sofa, I find myself being surprisingly moved by her portrayal. Yet again she turns what we might consider clowning to be onto its head and presents us with a fresh interpretation: a commendable feat in its own right.
Gaby’s performance is humorous and endearing, although I did feel that sometimes the same sort of scene was played out for too long (such as the wedding ceremony). Whilst it is important to be able to develop a scene so that the climax pays off, I would have liked to see a wider variety of situations in which to see her excellent clowning unfold. The show is an hour – plenty of time to afford such a thing.
Gaby Muñoz has a gift for challenging our preconceptions, and entertaining with something fresh and alternative. She makes clowning (something often considered either puerile or niche) accessible to the wider audience and is a fantastic entertainer. I just wonder if, in Perhaps Perhaps Quizás she could have had incorporated more material into this otherwise enjoyable show.