nytheatre.com review by Kelly McAllister
August 15, 2004
Sara Moore is the kind of person who makes you want to run away and join the circus. And not just any circus, but the one she belongs to; because she is a funny, intelligent, highly talented clown with a heart of gold. Her one-woman show, Show Ho, chronicles her adventures in a two-bit circus in a compact hour full of song, adventure, and heartache.
The show starts with a bit of clowning set to two contrasting pieces of music, and then goes to fairly straight narrative for the rest of the performance. We are treated to Moore portraying a wide variety of characters—from her grandmother, a former soothsayer who sings a fantastic song about how all the fun people in this world are dead, to the head clown of the circus, to Truly, the gay man she meets and falls in love with while working the many roads of circus life. We watch her go from rookie clown to full-fledged member of a very tight-knit group. And we see her lose a great love to the scourge of AIDS. Through it all, Moore is the consummate performer, never lingering too long on tragedy or comedy to bore us, always entertaining us—even when we are crying.
Show Ho comes to FringeNYC by way of San Francisco’s renowned Theatre Rhinoceros, where it had a sold-old run. The show should appeal to anyone who ever felt odd, different, and secretly brilliant—it certainly appealed to me. It has has been described as comic Kung Fu, and I’d say that’s a pretty good analogy. Indeed, it’s a black belt/samurai warrior, ready to take out any and all obstacles to laughter and reflection.
What I really enjoyed about the show was the deft way Moore moved between the more comic side of show business and the darker side. She introduces us to a menagerie of freaks and geeks who make us laugh, and then with a gesture, a glance, or a tightened smile, she lets each of the characters’ humanity and dignity peek out from behind their masks. John Fisher directs the show at a quick pace, making just the right use of props and costume to convey changes in time and place. The music by Marc Ream is fantastic—the aforementioned song by the soothsayer grandma is the best musical number I have seen at the Fringe this summer. The theatre is small, so get there early and make sure you have a good seat. You don’t want to miss anything.