Scaramouche Jones

Actor and writer Justin Butcher’s Scaramouche Jones is a feat in storytelling: both performer and tale performed are equally and utterly compelling. At one-hundred years old, Jones tells his audience that this is to be his last night of life and proceeds to recount a century of living so incredible that he keeps his audience in a permanent state of rapture.

This epic tale and its epic retelling are simply phenomenal.

The clown’s vocabulary is as eclectic and expansive as his experiences, and its diversity a reflection upon them. Jones’ grandiloquent manner of speaking, whilst at first slightly jarring in its strangeness, becomes the agent for some of the most poetic storytelling I have ever come across. The images conjured are spectacularly vivid, as are the evocations of various characters Jones meets as he is swept through a tumultuous life beyond his own control. The ease with which Butcher flips between these characters, injecting an incredible energy into every voice, is remarkable. His physicality, which adds a clownish ridiculousness to what is nevertheless wonderfully graceful movement, is exploited in moments of profundity and humour alike. Jones is presented, and presents himself, as the very figure of tragicomedy.

Fluidity of script and character is matched in the use of tech and set. Changes in lighting states often occur so subtly that it is impossible to notice them happening until the narrative takes a sharp turn and one suddenly becomes aware that the room has been slowly filling up with new colour. We are presented with images onstage which are almost as powerful as those Jones’ poetic imagery can evoke. For example, a tableau of a drowning man is created with incredible ingenuity through the use of white light and a sandpit.

This epic tale and its epic retelling are simply phenomenal. Its beauty and its tragedy are equally heart-rending; combined, they create a truly outstanding production which is not to be missed.

Reviews by Megan Dalton


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The Blurb

11pm Millennium Eve. Centenarian clown, Scaramouche, breaks 50 years silence to give his final performance and charts a bewitching odyssey through crumbling empires, comic misadventures and the 20th century's darkest episodes, revealing the loves, the brutalities, the ecstasies and tragedies beneath his seven white masks. An epic, poetic, profoundly moving tale that is all theatre should be: pure, simple, a glorious story sumptuously told, powerful yet enchanting. A sublime, unforgettable experience. Directed by Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson. An absolute must see. ‘Storytelling at its best’ (Times). ‘Mesmerising’ (Guardian). ‘Gloriously elegiac, memorable theatre’ (Irish Independent). ‘Simply stunning’ (Metro).