Online Entertainment Magazine

July 12, 2004

Theater Review


Clowning around in Hollywood


HOLLYWOOD, CA - Four Clowns and a Bench  is a surprisingly entertaining piece of theater. The West Coast Premiere of this comedy from Chicago is calling the Complex’s Ruby Theater home and the welcome mat has been laid out, complete with balloons and funny detachable clown noses. 

The word ‘surprisingly’ is only being used because of a negative stigma I have found when asking others what they feel about clowns. “Clowns are evil and they are going to eat me” and “Clowns nowadays are just dated and not funny” were just a few quotes I had to remember when a friend backed out at the last minute. Who knew the handpicked bunch all suffered from coulrophobia.? What I learned was that you cannot judge a play by its title. The laughter in the audience not only proved my informal survey wrong, the high energy will have this reviewer returning for another performance.

Written by Ian Pierce, and originally not featuring any ‘clowns’, director Steve Walker has incorporated dressing the characters as clowns, complete with full makeup and costume. This wise inventive decision enables the people on stage to connect more emotionally with the audience. 



The audience member may also find a greater appreciation for this almost faded craft that will warm the soul and pull on the heart strings.

The story revolves around two sets of friends whose paths cross one morning by a bench in the park. Along the way these individuals embark on new friendships, examine current relationships, and even fall in love. 

The strong ensemble is performed by Peter Blood, Michele Graff, Rob Kahn, Mark Montgomery and Ryan Oliver. This cast compliment each others strong points and look great together. They play with intelligent subtext and execute physical comedy with simple ease and great love for theater. 

Bottom line : Superb script with an ultra talented cast, FOUR CLOWNS AND BENCH is a must see. Especially for those who have a fear of clowns, the best way to conquer a fear is to face it or in this case, a buy a ticket and sit through a one act play.



Produced by Jenine Smith in association with Chicago’s Factory Theater, FOUR CLOWNS AND BENCH will send up its funhouse at The Complex’s Ruby Theatre located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood, California. Running through August 15, performances are Thurs-Sat at 8pm, and Sun at 7pm. Tickets are $15.00 for Thursday and Sunday performances and $ 20.00 for Fridays and Saturdays. $10.00 tickets will be awarded to guests who come dressed as clowns. For more info, visit www.fourclowns.com  or www.complexhollywood.com.  For reservations hop to www.tix.com  or call (800)595-4849. - - Adrian Rennie


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