Kapoot, Lid Productions, at the Loop Theater. Dan Griffiths, Stephen Chipps, and Jim Williams have reached a mature, cynical stage of clownhood, using silliness in the service of dark satire. Wildly funny physical antics and conflicting character dynamics bolster witty scenes tackling religion, relationships, abuse of authority, and war.
Performing in gibberish peppered with English, the three are fully committed to their characters. Griffiths's Flog is domineering and arrogant, which practically guarantees sympathy for Chipps's underdog, Plotz; meanwhile Williams's Slump is more of a free spirit. The Kapoot cocreators' extensive training in movement theater, mime, and clowning shows in the evening's 100 minutes of exuberant ingenuity. Slump fights an opponent evident to the audience only through Williams's tight object work with a cowboy hat, and Chipps and Griffiths use only their bodies and a lit cigarette to transform themselves into pilot and single-prop plane.
Williams--who joined the show just this year, after its initial staging by Griffiths and Chipps in 1999--needs to be more smoothly integrated in the second act. Still, these clowns are eminently easy to relate to, and Kapoot offers a stellar demonstration of the volumes that can be said through concentrated, original physical comedy.