SALT LAKE CITY — When walking into Clown House, devised by the Beyond the Line Theatre Company and part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, it is a little hard to know what to expect. The set consists of a wall of messages that funny is bad and routine is good, they are not clowns, laughing is bad, etc. There are a lot of papers on the floor. The show is directed by Jordan Reynosa and consists of three players, Reynosa, Tom Roche, and Kaiti Smith.
What follows is a mix of joyousness and sadness, happiness and confusion, excitement and more. What was most fun about this production is that all of this was done without any dialogue. While I am of course familiar with the art of good pantomime, I found the level of use in this show to be impressive. Something else that was well used in this production was audience participation. Two moments in particular they even pulled me out of my comfortable seat but in ways that were not intimidating, just fun.
What was even still more impressive in this production was an actual storyline that came through all the jokes and, well, clowning around. I did not expect a deep level of storyline to come through clown tricks and physical jokes and comedy, but the direction of Reynosa and the acting of the three have done an excellent job of helping the audience connect to the characters so there were some cheers and specific happiness at certain parts of the story that I do not want to give away. I’ll just end with saying that Clown House is more than clowning around.