BWW Review: Can't-Miss Entertainment, CLOWN BAR Opens in Kansas City at Immersive KC
What do you do when some Bozo commits murder? You go see the newest show being offered by Padgett Productions, CLOWN BAR, at Immersive KC (formerly Prohibition Hall) in Kansas City. The hilarious campy comedy written by Adam Szymkowicz runs Friday and Saturday nights through July 20. This 65-minute production is riddled with sidesplitting humor, musical numbers, and hilarious choreography.
Szymkowicz told Rob Weinert-Kendt in an interview for American Theatre he had written CLOWN BAR on a lark for the back room of Jimmy's Number 43 in New York. The play was commissioned by Rising Phoenix Repertory's Cino Night and was specifically written to be performed in a bar. The play has since been produced in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The show begins as the audience enters the door of Immersive KC walking into the Clown Bar. The characters already in place confront audience members who fail to wear the large red nose they received at the door. This sometimes-dark comedy with violent tendencies that will surprise and shock you as the clowns confront cast members and the audience with deadpan jokes, sexual innuendos, and sight gags that keep the audience entertained throughout the show.
Detective Happy Mahoney isn't clowning around (although he used to be one) when he returns to Clown Bar after his brother Timmy is found dead. It is a seedy clown underworld, where the clowns are not only armed with heavy slapstick, but guns and they are not afraid to use them. Troy Heard directs this helter-skelter production which reminds us why so many people are afraid of clowns but can't get enough of good and sometimes intentionally bad jokes.
Richie Villafuerte is fantastic as Happy Mahoney. I heard several audience members say that he has an Al Pacino aura about him. It is easy to understand why Padgett Productions brought him to Kansas City for this role. This is Villafuerte's third appearance in CLOWN BAR, having played Happy Mahoney in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He has performed for the last decade on the west coast and is a graduate from the University of Las Vegas conservatory Theatre program. His comedic timing is superb, and his body language adds to the hysterical dialogue.
Jamie Lin gives a show-stealing performance as Petunia, a hooker clown. Jace Willcutt appears as Happy's brother Timmy, whose entrance to the stage is marked by his spraying fog from a can into the air. Maria Savoy stars as Blinky Fatale, Happy's previous clown love and Nicole Hall appears as Popo the killer clown.
Who is that clown singing that suggestive song about Lois Lane, Marilyn Monroe, and other famous divas? It is T. J. Warren as the clown crooner Dusty. Others clowning around in CLOWN BAR are Matt McCann as Twinkles, Brandon Olsen as Giggles, Erik J. Pratt as Shotgun McGhee, and Pete Blakeley as the notorious boss Bobo.
Due to the nature of this show, it is intended for mature audiences. CLOWN BAR continues at Immersive KC through July 20. To purchase tickets online go to www.clownbarkc.com.
Photos by Francie Kapono-KuzilaEnter Your Article Text Here!