Coming direct from New York City in association with theSpaceUK, following a successful week-long debut run in Edinburgh and winning the coveted Fringe First Award; Chloe Rice and Natasha Roland have been collaborating for nearly ten years, writing, and performing their own material. Ye hawing their way into the King’s Head Theatre, their rodeo clown show packs a lot into the hour.
With country and western music piped into the theatre, the clown puts on her make up ready for the show. Star of the show is the lassoing cowboy, and oh boy, does Dale the clown want to be a cowboy, but our clown has a shadow, someone who wants to be a clown.
Dressed in cowboy clothes, the pecking order of life is dissected, with the cowboy representing the top of the food chain and the shit-shovelers and rodeo steers festering at the bottom. It is a common theme in life and has echoes of the famous Monty Python scene ‘Class System,’ using comedy to put a point across.
There is much to love here, Rice and Roland have honed their clowning skills and shadow perfectly, using physical theatre to assist in creating some very funny, red nose routines. Having a wrap around audience suits their show well, and they play to this using very few props, but when they are used, they become a focal point…the lighter; the lasso; the clown’s make-up.
There is more here than just a clown show, the precision in execution shows the time that has been devoted to tweaking the show until it is right for this venue. There is a story running through the show about the rodeo being burned down, but the premise seems to come from a need to feel recognised for your own achievements, being held back when you are capable of more, and money being in short supply; these themes run through the play as a whole and can relate to life in general.
And Then The Rodeo Burned Down aims to lasso their audience into comedic submission, but once the laughter has subsided, it leaves you pondering on your own dreams and reality.
Whether you wish to ponder on the meaning of life, or you wish to simply go along for some excellent clowning and physical theatre, this is definitely a show to see while these New Yorkers are in Blighty.
The show runs until the 11th February 2023, follow this link to book tickets – https://kingsheadtheatre.com/whats-on/and-then-the-rodeo-burned-down
Reviewer: Caroline Worswick
Reviewed: 20th January 2023
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★