Edinburgh Fringe 2023
A personal story that gives you insights into this lovely human being who is enjoying being a clown and entertaining us.
Gerry Carroll-Young claims to be the oldest solo clown creator at the Fringe. He’s spent the past ten years practicing stand-up, theatre, and clowning. He has turned 70 and is ready to have some fun in Edinburgh.
The entry music is strangely appropriate: “Still Crazy After All These Years” from Paul Simon. Maybe that’s where Gerry sees himself, as the comedic actor who is still delivering the laughs.
It’s been 41 years since he has been on a stage, but he is ready to bring a smile to your face. Gerry worked in the civil service in Dublin, writing letters all day then going to the pub. You can easily imagine him weaving tales over a pint with friends. He has an affable personality that would bring people to gather around and listen. But rather than working in his “day job”, he feels he was born to sing and dance. He loved being in the theatre and making people happy.
And that he does in his 55-minute Fringe show. The performance is peppered with songs, like his parody that tells of “a waste of your life working in education”. There is the physical clown-type comedy entwined with the music and stories.
Gerry is a lovely storyteller. He invites you into his virtual living room to enchant you with tales. The show begins with a Yeats poem about growing old. Considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, like Gerry, Yeats was Irish.
He handily plays all of the parts of the characters in his story. Gerry starts by retelling the story of an old Irish legend where the character Osheen went to the Land of the Young. When he returned, many years had passed and he had turned into a wrinkly old man. Is this a hint at Gerry’s view of his turning 70?
There is a young boy’s coming of age story. There are funny moments in his recounting of school experiences with a dictionary that contained many more “interesting” words than the dictionary his parents had at home. We can just imagine his delight in finding those extra entries.
With the help of someone in the audience, he demonstrates a funny party trick. Gerry was probably the life of a party, especially at the pubs.
Throughout the program, it is Gerry’s charm and wit that keep us entertained. He’s not a great singer, but his songs move the story along. His physical theatre is much of what you might expect from an older clown but could use a bit of a lift with more practiced routines.
It is a personal story that gives you insights into this lovely human being who is enjoying being a clown and entertaining us.
The show’s development has been aided by a Develop Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England.