Jo Tomalin’s picks for Clown and Mime shows at Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Clowns are playful, happy or sad, with or without a red nose, they may play an instrument, may speak or be silent – clowns have a naiveté about the world and always have quirky characters and individualistic costumes. Mime is traditionally a silent art form but mime characters may make sounds and usually use gestural language to communicate. Both clowns and mimes can be comedic or tragic. Here are a few clown + mime shows to get you started. 

Fool’s Gold playing at Zoo Playground performed by Saskia Solomons, a “Lecoq-trained physical performer and Fool” is a semi-improvised show that “morphs into a myriad of inner personalities as they wrestle with the ickiest of sticky icks: money. It’s “disarmingly honest exploration of belonging, class and inequality by a closet rich kid.”

If you’re looking for a zany excursion then head to BlundaGardens: BlundaBus & Magical SpiegelYurt to see the Nikki Hill: Try Cycles. “This carousel moon ride will transport you beyond your internal orbits, into the unknown, and back again?” In one hour show performed by a “professional idiot and try-hard aiming for Utopia.”

Grow encompasses storytelling with clown in a children’s show playing at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. “The Gardener has agreed to look after their friend’s allotment. They’re very excited to grow a plant. But there’s a problem. All the instructions are lost!” performed by Niall Moorjani, Diana Redgrave and Vickie Holden ““come and join in with a sun dance, a rain dance and some hilarious clowning around in a joyful show celebrating nature and things that grow.”

For a high-energy comedy family show about “a lonely old man and a homeless dog who become friends and enter a ballroom dancing competition Strictly Barking is playing at Gilded Balloon Teviot. Jon and Ollie tell their story through “comedy, slapstick, crazy characters and enthusiastic dance routines.”

Life coaching is available on a bus from clown character Alex in Alex Martini: Life’s a Pitch playing at BlundaGardens: BlundaBus & Magical SpiegelYurt. Alex is “vulnerable, soft, wild and ludicrously lucid: a German clown (Gaulier-trained) and slightly fragile, self-made mindfulness coach with possible delusions of grandeur is ready to coach you.”

For absurdist clown seek out Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha playing at Monkey Barrel Comedy. This one hour show from Impatient Productions is zany and Masli’s eccentric character is full of surprises!

In Troll two clowns explore their friendship and being misunderstood. Marie Kallevik Straume, Anna Marie Simonsen and Cecily Nash from Norway perform this comedic show inspired by Scandinavian folklore. “Troll is a heartwarming mash-up of music, storytelling, audience interaction, physical theatre, and clown” playing at Underbelly Cowgate.

If you’re looking for a physical theatre show with clown and mime, then see Nomad playing at Summerhall. “A biographical theatre piece based on Gözde Atalay’s own journey as an immigrant in Europe. This performance is inspired by migrants’ lived experience of paperwork, clerks and survival in a foreign country,” with lots of paper!

Enjoy discovering the world of the clown and the variety of clown characters playing at this year’s Edfringe!

Jo Tomalin is FringeReview’s dance and physical theatre reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe and also reviews elsewhere in the world.