It seems reductive to call Brotipo a clown double act. Yes, they are clowns and yes, there are two of them. But it’s probably truer to define them as a circus act because there’s a faint sense that they are an entire circus, albeit without the troubling animal aspects, just in somewhat condensed form.
I mean, it’s mainly clowning. The set-up is relatively traditional – both of our protagonists are childlike innocents, but one is rather more childlike than the other. One has an air of naughty rule-breaking and the other is taking this whole ‘show’ business a little more seriously. Both have moments of stroppiness, petulantly leaving the stage and abandoning their partner before having to be persuaded back on by audience encouragement. There are power struggles and silliness and it’s all performed winningly by our Canadian heroes in a delightful mix of English and gibberish, leaving an audience of all ages engaged and laughing.
But they do also mix it up. The physical comedy set-pieces are intermingled with gymnastic acts of physical strength that hit all the harder for taking place in a relatively intimate venue – more than once was I worried about them potentially striking the lighting rig floating above their heads. And the highlight is probably an extended Diablo routine performed with aplomb that makes you wish you’d learnt to work one yourself – whilst in the full knowledge you could never attain the level of proficiency displayed here.
There isn’t a massive amount of story to hang the show on meaning that whilst it charms and amuses throughout it doesn’t quite go beyond a series of entertaining set-pieces to hit the heart. It’s probably best thought of as an introduction to clowning for the whole family, a sort of circus amuse bouche, and the rapt delight of the younger audience members is a testament to its effect. As a light afternoon snack, it’s a joy.
by Les Foutoukours