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San Francisco Fringe 2015

“Mom?”: A Comedy of Mourners

Box of Clowns

Genre: Clown, Devised

Venue: Exit Theatre


Low Down

Siblings Victoria, Frank and Mango, the naive and gawky younger sister plan to mourn the loss of the mother. As clowns, their plans are derailed with hilarious results – right up to the last minute!


Death and clowns in the same show? Well, yes – and it’s actually very entertaining! Siblings Victoria, the prim older sister, Frank, the pedantic brother and Mango, the gawky younger sister are attempting to mourn the loss of their mother. However, as a clown show, proceedings get derailed from the outset and develop in unexpected ways. These clowns seem to live in a box, which provides ingenious ways to go into and out of their home through clever acrobatics. They are nimble with elastic limbs, using their physicality in a variety of ways as they perform on a narrow raised platform.

Sibling rivalry is a strong feature of the story. Victoria, dressed in a red satin top and long satiny skirt tries to do things correctly but brother Frank in a red and white striped unitard and old time three cornered hair has his own ideas. Meanwhile, the youngest, Mango, in her shades of orange and yellow frilly dress with an appropriately strange hairstyle and toothy grin drives a lot of the comedy from her naive character. They each communicate in their own way, ranging from Victoria speaking in sentences and trying to sing opera (briefly) to Mango’s delicious burbling gibberish.

The trio perform perfectly timed slapstick and hilarious physical comedy with minimal props, making a lot out of very little, fleshing out every detail – and it’s all very entertaining. The three clowns build a rapport with the audience very quickly, from the first sightings of them! Through Inventive physical collaboration they get a lot of mileage from the simplest things, which are elements of good clowning. Using their narrow space and a prop or two they manage to create illusions that happen in an instant and have everyone in the audience laughing.

Victoria, Frank and Mango battle the natural pecking order as each wants to be in charge with very funny results right up until the last minute, literally! This one-hour show flies by leaving everyone wanting more. The precision of the antics, polished scenes, imaginative ideas, well defined clown characters and seamless transitions make this a must see show at the SF Fringe and highly recommended, indeed!