I have seen clowning looked down upon in theatre circles (ridiculously), considered lowbrow or easy hanging fruit. I would now direct any person talking such absolute nonsense to watch Aitken’s skilful clown work. After watching this show, it’s no wonder to me that a lot of emerging theatre makers are inspired by his particular prowess in clowning. Of particular note is his entrancing prop work. The beginning of the show relies heavily on just an actor working with several inanimate objects, often a tricky task, but one Aitken handles expertly. The mundanity of opening a milk bottle is suddenly a full body task, greeted by shrieks of laughter and even a call of ‘That’s so dangerous!’ from the audience.
My favourite part of the entire performance is a sequence lit only in blue light, thanks to the lighting design of Marcus McShane and operation of Niamh Campbell-Ward. Aitken and his stage team of Rosier Mazur and Mike Ainsworth puppeteering various objects and animals painted in fluorescents to portray apart of the dream Mr. Fungus is having. I love puppets. Love them. If I’m coming into a show not expecting puppets and I get puppets… I’m having a good time in the theatre. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every member of the audience was in awe of this sequence. It expertly showed the cerebral dreamscape mixed with the fantastical clowning the Mr Fungus team has become known for.
As a lovely end, Aitken stands in front of the audience and says that he and the Mr Fungus and friends team really wanted to make a piece of theatre that was fun and light hearted because that’s what we need today. I believe thoroughly that the whole team has achieved this goal.
Mr Fungus Dreams is on at Circa Theatre until Saturday the 7th of October with very limited tickets available.