Four Clowns have made their triumphant return to the Hollywood Fringe with The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah, their deliciously naughty, delightfully silly, fabulously entertaining tribute to old-time vaudeville and burlesque … and there’s not a clown suit in sight.
Then again, who needs red noses when you’ve got Four Clowns’ latest band of zanies, beginning with “Stage Hand” Benji Kaufman, who along with some game audience participants provides pre-show entertainment even before master of ceremonies Butterbeans Arbuckle (Don Colliver) takes centerstage to introduce act after hilarious act.
These include the twincestuous Fritz and Helga Inderdorf (Dave Honigman and Jennifer Carroll), whose limber acrobatics keep Fritz and Helga face-to-crotch as often as possible; coloratura soprano Pruella Tickeldick (Charlotte Chanler) and her duetting dummy; stilt-walking, plate-spinning Madame La Merde (Hélène Udy), and Burlesque Blonde (a tassel-twirling Jamie Franta).
Providing melodramatic conflict along the way is Old West varmint The Real McCoy (a mustachioed Jolene Kim), who arrives with Henchman 1 (Tyler Bremer) and Henchman 2 (Jamarr Love) to put the kibosh on Butterbeans and his traveling band of halfwits.
Completing the cast of characters are our MC’s always game assistant Nimrod (Elizabeth Godley), whose megaphone-amped “voice” must be heard to be believed, and a Liquor Vendor (Julia Davis), whose first taste of the hard stuff has potent, game-changing effects.
Definitely not a show for the youngsters, The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah may well be the most non-stop hilarious and double-entendre-filled show at this year’s Fringe, for which we have to thank director David Anthony Anis and assistant director Raymond Lee, co-writers Franta and Colliver, an all-around sensational cast, and a team of inspired collaborators: costume designer Elena Flores, lighting designer Donny Jackson, set and props designer Matt MacCready, dance choreographer Siri Tveter, and fight choreographer Matt Franta, with an extra-loud round of applause to pianist Wayne H. Holland, III.
I loved my introduction to Four Clowns (their raunchy, red-nosed take on R&J several years back) and only regret that it’s taken me this long for my second visit.
There is surely no more entertaining show at Hollywood Fringe 2015 than Four Clowns’ The Halfwits’s Last Hurrah.
June 23, 2015