Puddles the clown is a darling of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and has returned this year with a show that is bound to entertain existing fans as well as win over a legion of new ones.
If you have never seen Puddles Pity Party before, the premise is simple: Puddles is a 6'8" mute clown who only ever breaks his silence in order to deliver impassioned performances of karaoke love ballads (well, admittedly there’s the odd grunt here and there).
Puddles starts off the night with a tribute song to David Bowie, as well as an aching rendition of Lorde’s "Royals". Subsequent artist covered include Coldplay, Tina Turner and local band The Angels.
People who cower in their seats at the slightest threat of audience interaction: this is not the show for you. On this particular night, we were treated to the spectacle of seeing Puddles forcibly take a dignified middle-aged man on the stage, so that he could sing a famous Celine Dion torch song for us all.
As can be attested to, by slideshows of fan art and photos on the screen behind Puddles as he performs, the glorious tragicomedy of Pity Party is something that the audience is openly invited to participate in.
Of course, when a show so heavily relies on the people who are watching it, a low-energy crowd can sap its lifeblood. But, in Puddles’ expert hands, this was never really a problem, and he knows how to milk an audience member’s reticence and awkwardness at being onstage for all its comedic worth.
Puddles Pity Party - Potluck will be running until March 13 at the Garden of Unearthly Delights