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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

The Artist

Circo Aereo and Thom Monckton

Genre: Circus, Clown, Dance, Physical Theatre, Solo Performance

Venue: Assembly Roxy


Low Down

The artist tries to begin his creation process, but the inspiration is completely lost. The focus strays, the blank canvas terrifies, and the tools have been lost to the bowels of the atelier. The Artist is a solo physical theatre and contemporary circus show by award-winning Thom Monckton and Circo Aereo, directed by Sanna Silvennoinen. It follows the success of their previous collaboration, The Pianist, which has been a smash hit with critics and audiences around the world.


A slow drip from above, a mismatched picture frame and a change of T-shirt – that’s all we need to see in the first few minutes of this show to be curious about what is to come – and everyone is already laughing. There’s a connection, a rapport between those watching and the Artist in this one hour solo show. The Artist is played by Thom Monckton, an accomplished physical actor and clown, who uses his repertoire of physical skills imaginatively.

Being a theatrical clown he finds the long way around to discover creative solutions and Monckton does this very effectively nonstop to the end. With a balance of wit, extreme physical acts and a dash of silliness this artist finds joy in the small and large challenges he encounters. For example, when he sees something on a high shelf, no problem, he has a creative solution! It may not be what anyone else would do, but that is the point and what makes clowns different, provocative and entertaining.

The set is aptly, an artist’s studio with a paint spattered floor, art materials and accoutrements. This character risks and puts himself in difficult situations that usually work out, phew! He gets tangled up in steps and staples and even finds time for a little juggling.

Monckton has an elastic body, capable of stretching just that little bit more to succeed to get what he wants. He’s also an excellent mime, and communicates by a variety of facial expressions, with only a few sounds uttered from him during the entire show, which can be easily understood by everyone.

The show flows well and is full of small bits and well tuned routines that are effective in structure and timing. Interactivity in the show builds trust and is in good humour.

Setting up a still life brings out his wit and reactions from the audience, along with some clever visual jokes. This artist constantly surprises us with compact in the moment action and tops it by bringing out a new object that takes the story in another direction! There is a running visual joke (forgive the pun, if you have seen the show) it’s another thing to deal with, and Monckton rises to the occasion, he always knows what to do!

Monckton’s character errs on the side of the ridiculous, which is his charm. It’s a delight to watch him at work in this very entertaining show.

At the start he sets out to paint a picture and has quite the journey around his studio. Does he complete the painting? You would have to see the show for the answer! Highly Recommended‼