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The Artist review at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh – ‘artful, inventive and playful’

Thom Monckton in The Artist at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh. Photo: Antti Saukko

Circus performer and clown Thom Monckton makes an art form out of dawdling around in this deft and almost perfectly paced solo show. A gangly, delicate-looking type with tufted hair and glasses, he’s the eponymous painter, struggling for inspiration behind the canvas in his bespattered garret.

A master of the moue, Monckton careers from one exquisitely controlled mishap to another, variously involving ladders, buckets and a staple gun. The costive strain that spreads over his face when he attempts to use the latter is a wonderful sight to behold. He also does a fine line in demented grins and compulsive twitching. Somehow, he can simultaneously flip his glasses on to his face and catch a paintbrush in his mouth.

Aided by some atmospheric lighting, absorbing flights of fancy emerge from the fiddling and procrastination – a fruit bowl set out for a still life painting becomes a hot bath for a denuded banana as well as a nightclub that’s gatecrashed by a pear.

The sense of invention and play is captivating for all ages. With his loose-limbed moonwalks, bouts of acrobatics, sock dramas and fruit-inspired gibberish, Monckton is a delight. It’s a show that’s never indulgent, the momentum never sagging in the build-up to a lovely denouement.

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Verdict
Artful solo show about a hapless painter involves top-notch clowning and engaging humour

Production

Production
The Artist
Venue
Assembly Roxy
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 1, 2018
Ends
August 27, 2018
Director
Sanna Silvennoinen
Lighting
Juho Rahijarvi
Sound
Tuomas Norvio
Costume
Kati Mantere
Technical
Eveliina Hamalainen (consultant)
Cast includes
Thom Monckton
Producer
Circo Aereo, Ateneum-sali, Helsinki Festival
Running time
1hr