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LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp London Review
by Lizzie Loveridge
From the early life with his mother to her untimely murder when he is shipped off to an orphanage, sold by the priest to a slaver trading out of Mombassa, to assistant to Yasu, the snake charmer, Scaramouche's story touches many of the events of the twentieth century. He sees the coronation of Haile Selassie I, in Africa, is invited to a masked ball in Venice in honour of Mussolini, joins up with some gypsies and goes to Krakow from where he is captured by Nazis and put to work in a camp. Here he discovered the ability to make people laugh and became "the concentration camp clown whose antics had kept fear at bay for so many Holocaust victims." Scaramouche clings to the belief that his father was an Englishman and eventually he reaches England.
Credit for the graphic writing must go to Justin Butcher but it is Pete Postlethwaite who brings the words alive whether it is rolling on the floor imitating his own mother receiving her numerous clients or speaking to us in the many accents of the world of characters or miming a scene. The high pitched, heavily accented mother who likens her pale faced child to "a leetle oyster" or the Welsh customs clerk who gives him the surname Jones, flow from Postlethwaite's lips with ease.
The set is semi-circular, the canvas drapes of an old circus tent with all the circus paraphernalia. Changes of lighting and sound effects all contribute to provide changes of mood, of poignancy, of danger, of despair at the inhumanity of men. As the story progresses Scaramouche removes his wig, his make up, exposing the man who lies beneath the clown. He says, "Fifty years to make the clown, fifty years to play the clown . . . ."
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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