- Terelle Jerricks
By John Farrell, Contributing Theater Reviewer
Slapstick isn’t dead.
Broad, clown-filled comedy is alive and well. Just go to the Long Beach Playhouse’s Studio Theater and see That Beautiful Laugh, a family-friendly laugh-filled story that is much more than just a riotous, reckless physical comedy.
That Beautiful Laugh tells the story of an elderly clown who takes a spaceship to a world, which has forgotten how to laugh just to restore laughter. It is charming, a tribute to every clown, especially those who created silent films a hundred years ago.
Created by Orlando Pabatoy several years back and taken by Four Clowns and enhanced, the play is directed by the talented Taylor Munch, who has helped create many of Four Clowns award-winning productions, including their Romeo and Juliet, which received the Top of the Fringe Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2011. It is a 75-minute look at laughing and humor in a world you may actually recognize.
The clowns, Emily Brennick (Princess Tyrone), Julia Davis (Cosette of the People), Andrew Eiden (Marvin), Mike Funt (Antoine McGroe), Dave Honigman (Tom) and Connor Kelly-Eiding (Peking Duck) all are masters of slapstick of rough humor and improvisation. Though the play is written, the cast interacts with the audience, especially children, to create their comedy.
Marvin is the elderly clown who travels (via shadow puppets) to a new world where he finds the others afraid and unable to laugh. They slowly change at his urging, slowly coming to terms with the audience they discover watching them.
There is a message, but it is a message of humor, and of laughter, and at the end, the clowns walk into the audience to make sure everyone is laughing with them. Guaranteed you’ll be laughing with everyone else.
Tickets are $15 and $10 for children. Performances are March 15 at 8 p.m., March 16 at 8 p.m. and March 17 at 2 p.m.
Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre
Location: 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach