British clown mixes humor with pathos in one-man show

See why we’re surprised that “Flawed Genius” is playing in SE Portland‚ instead of a large, downtown theater‚ and why you should plan to attend this weekend,

The “Flawed Genius” portrayed by Barnaby King isn’t a baggy-pants comic‚ instead, he takes his audiences on an emotional journey that is entertaining and oddly moving.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
After traveling the world, and presenting his one-man show at festivals across Canada, Barnaby King — a most unusual entertainer — has come to settle in Portland.

Barnaby is a clown. Please read on‚ he doesn’t blow up balloons or do birthday parties!

We meet Barnaby in a rehearsal studio as he prepares to present his show, “Flawed Genius”, this weekend in SE Portland.

“When most folks think of a clown, they envision baggy-pant, pie-in-the-face, pratfall-taking circus clown,” begins Barnaby.

“Circus clowns performances are geared for huge spaces; thus they broadly play out larger-than-life gags. My performance is theatrical. It is based partly on a Native American concept of clowns: Facing all directions of one’s self at the same time and laughing at the beauty of one’s own ridiculousness.”

This English chap says he heard about an instructor in Toronto, Canada, who was teaching this concept. “Susan Morrison helped me develop this show, based on European clowning.”

Barnaby, an entertainer described as “The thinking man’s clown”, emotes at his magical piano.

In this show, he continues, he conveys emotions most people don’t wish to express. “Through this show, I hope to help audience members get in touch with what it means to be human. I share this in a unique and intimate way.”

Because he draws “on the moment”, Barnaby says each show is different and unique. “I want to inspire people; move them in some way.”

After his Canadian tour, Barnaby says he came to Portland, and met Molly, the love of his life. “We’re being married this fall.”

See “Flawed Genius” May 11-12
In his show, you’ll see Barnaby with the full sized piano that he plays and climbs over, and from which he extracts the battered paraphernalia of his life. The show runs two days at Performance Works Northwest, 4625 SE 67th Ave, just off SE Foster Rd. Tickets at the door; show time is at 8:00 p.m. For ticket information, call (503) 777-1907.

To learn more about Barnaby, his show and workshops he leads, click HERE.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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