SCARAMOUCHE JONES or THE SEVEN WHITE MASKS: Review

SCARAMOUCHE JONES or THE SEVEN WHITE MASKS.
Wilton’s Music Hall, Cable Street, 15th June, 2021.

Four stars.

As the 20th century winds its way into a new millennium, the centenarian clown Scaramouche Jones completes his final performance, and comes backstage to find us, a final final audience for his picaresque, grotesque life story; born in Trinidad on New Year’s Eve, 1899, he journeys to London through Africa and Continental Europe, a witness to history, an unwilling participant in atrocity, accreting white mask on top of white mask, until the man becomes the masks: “Fifty years to make the clown, fifty years to play the clown… “.

Written and performed by Justin Butcher, directed by Guy Masterson, this one man epic has found a perfect home in the decayed grandeur of Wilton’s Music Hall. Against a series of delicately projected video effects, Justin Butcher holds the stage for a hundred minutes of intense theatre. It’s sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable, but it’s hard to take your eyes off him. Re-staging the piece he wrote for Pete Postlethwaite in 2001, it is a beautifully judged commentary on fading memories, and an appropriate return to live performance after the last weird year. Grock lives, on a stage in Stepney. Go and see it.

Playing from 15th – 26th June.

https://www.wiltons.org.uk/whatson/682-scaramouche-jones-or-the-seven-white-masks-

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