The Psychology of Clumsiness | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Psychology of Clumsiness

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The Psychology of Clumsiness

The first time I saw trained clown Drew Richardson perform, in 1989, I hated him. I hated his show, an ambitious but flawed attempt to explore the two sides of clowning, the mischievous trickster and the playful child. I hated that he called himself a "dramatic fool" because to my eyes he seemed only a glorified mime. But most of all I hated the fact that, for all his clownish posturing, he wasn't funny. So I panned him. And Richardson, a good artist, kept on doing what he was doing and taking every chance he could get to explore his art--in this case physical comedy in the tradition of Buster Keaton, Jacques Lecoq, and Laurel and Hardy. And over the years his work deepened, his range of comic styles broadened, and he developed a delightful stage persona, a sweet naif constantly at war with mean-spirited inanimate objects. His current show is a series of sketches--some silent, some not--in which he explores the ins and outs of the human brain. In one hilarious bit, Richardson illustrates the difference between left- and right-brain thinking by telling a story in which props--magazines, Barbie dolls, rubber chickens--represent words. Not all the bits are so clearly related to the theme, however: I still cannot for the life of me figure out what a sketch about plugging in a stereo with a frustratingly short cord was doing in this show. But frankly I was laughing to hard to care. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-279-8551. Through November 19: Wednesdays, 8 PM. $8. --Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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