On Stage

Clown Bar

No rules, no problem

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I’m of the opinion that clowns are creepy.

If you don’t agree with me, read or watch the miniseries version of Stephen King’s It and meet the predatory life form going by the name of Pennywhistle the Dancing Clown. Or recall that serial killer John Wayne Gacy was also known as the “Killer Clown” due to the fact that he was known to have worked kids’ parties dressed in face paint and a big red nose. Hell, even Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons isn’t a character most people would care to run into in a dark alley.

Which brings me to Clown Bar, iDiOM Theater’s first mainstage production of the season. Written by New York City-based playwright Adam Szymkowicz, the noir-ish murder mystery focuses on a former clown named Happy Mahoney who left the world of funny business to become a cop. When his younger brother Timmy is killed, Happy returns to his former watering hole to suss out whodunit.

On opening night of Clown Bar, it was soon evident that director Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao spent a lot of time making sure the clowns represented onstage weren’t simply caricatures of those that have come before them.

That said, they’re also not a group you’d consider hiring for your 10-year-old’s birthday celebration. Green-haired barkeep Petunia (Cass Murphy) gives new meaning to the words “lewd” and “lascivious,” while Shotgun (Pat Owen-Kachikis) doesn’t hesitate to use what’s in his oversized trousers—and there’s a lot in there—to intimidate those around him.

Additionally, when straight-faced Giggles (Ann Shannon) says “there are no rules in a clown bar,” you believe her. And when the sly Twinkles (Jeff Braswell) is behind the counter, those on the other side never know what’s going to turn up in their glasses—could be a banana, could be something that is potentially harmful to humans.

At the mic is Dusty (Wes Davis), a sad clown with blue hair who sings blue songs. There’s also a blood-splattered clown named Popo (Anna Mostovetsky) who will likely haunt your nightmares, the vampish Blinky Fatale (Shu-Ling Hergenhahn-Zhao), and the kingpin of the organized crime clown unit, Bobo (Daniel Ruiz).

It’s not a surprise to say that one or more of the aforementioned clowns is also a killer.

Via flashbacks, the audience also meets Timmy (Bennett Williamson), and learns more about what drove Happy (Ron Warner) away from the bar—and the clown cabal—in the first place.

Throughout, musicians Bill MacDonough, Jonathan Sherman, and Brendan Labotz help bring the story to life. And despite the spooky subject matter and the body count, there’s a whole lot of life to be found in Clown Bar.

In addition to the music, audiences will find themselves surrounded by a vast array of color—whether it’s in the form of costumes or language. They will discover more about what it means when clowns love and lose each other. They will laugh, and gasp, and maybe recoil a little bit. They may become aroused, and will most definitely become interested in what’s happening around them. Finally, they will discover what I’ve always known—that clowns, despite their big smiles, are more than a little creepy.

Cash Spell
More On Stage...
Alps Alert
Getting in on the act

Last week, my officemate and I spent a few minutes of our deadline countdown belting out verses from “My Favorite Things.”

It may not have been the appropriate time or place to croon about “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” or “bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,” but…

more »
Coming Home
Out and about with Betty Desire

If you’ve ever visited Rumors Cabaret on a Sunday night, chances are you’re familiar with Betty Desire’s cheeky karaoke performances, raunchy humor and live storytelling. But the real story of Betty Desire is one of tireless advocacy for equality and community.

Betty—a character…

more »
A Doll's House
Two takes on Ibsen

Nora Helmer’s husband is a clueless jerk who treats his wife like brainless chattel, but that didn’t stop audiences who first watched Danish playwright Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House from being aghast when her character chose to leave her spouse—and her children—behind at the end of the…

more »
Events
Today
Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

The 39 Steps

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

Little Women

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Romeo, You Idiot!

7:30pm|Heiner Theater

Fools

7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Craft Bazaar

9:00am|American Legion Post #43

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Used Book Sale

10:00am|Everson Library

Red Barn Handpicked Holiday Market

12:00pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

3:00pm|Lynden Library, Ferndale Library

It's Where the Sidewalk Ends

6:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

New Music, New Dance

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Big Short One-Act Festival

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Pancake Feed

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Hillcrest Chapel

Christmas in the Woods

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Acme Elementary School

Turkey Trot

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Climate Reality

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Fall Gardening

10:00am|Lynden Library

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Lynden Book Club

10:30am|Everson Library

Salmon Sighting

12:00pm|Haynie Creek

Conquering Writer's Block

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

NaNoWriMo and Indie Publishing

3:00pm|Everson Library

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival

3:00pm|Eaglemont

Homeless Summit and Cold Weather Giveaway

3:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

i.e. artists talk

3:30pm|i.e. gallery

Small Works Opening

4:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Smith & Vallee Artist Talk

4:00pm| Smith & Vallee Gallery

WA 129 Poetry Reading

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Giving from the Heart

7:00pm|Depot Art Center

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Welcome Home Celebration

7:00pm|Village Books

Ruach Consort

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Eagles Hall

Michael Kaeshammer

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Legends of the Blues V

7:30pm|Byrnes Performing Arts Center

Kaeshammer
Tomorrow
Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Fools

7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Getting in on the act

1:00pm

Sound of Music Singalong

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

A Musical Thanksgiving

2:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Harmony from Discord with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The 25th Hour

4:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Rutie Dornfeld, John Miller

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Kaeshammer Village Books
Monday
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Wander + Camber Beer Dinner

6:30pm|Camber Cafe

Rocks & Gems

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Building

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

Kaeshammer Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove