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REVIEWS: That Beautiful Laugh


Alison Royer, Life in LA - June 14, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

On June 8th, as part of The Hollywood Fringe Festival, I walked into Open Fist Theater to see That Beautiful Laugh presented by Four Clowns. Seeing as my life is in a state of perpetual disaster, I was late, inappropriately dressed, and seated next to a three-year-old. I doubted if anything, clowns included, could improve my mood. At the very least, I was certain I’d be distracted by a toddler through the duration of this performance. As usual, I was wrong.

As testament to Four Clowns’ dazzling and captivating performance, that three-year-old didn’t budge once. He was enthralled. He wasn’t the only one. The 99-seat house was packed with an incredibly diverse audience. It seems the one thing that unites Los Angeles is a quest for laughter and a slew of bulbous, red noses.

Conceived by Orlando Pabotoy and directed by Turner Munch, the show is set in a world in which everyone has forgotten how to laugh and follows a wise old man and a troupe of clowns on a poignant quest to rediscover That Beautiful Laugh. On this interactive journey, we laughed, we cried, we were scared and sometimes we got lost. Through movement, music and some pretty elaborate props, Four Clowns tested us. They surprised us, they gained our trust and they broke our hearts. After all that, they asked if we were ready to find laughter again. And we were. This originally developed piece was rewarded with a standing ovation.

As I was leaving the theatre that damn 3-year-old was still in tow. He was seemingly riveted by a Four Clown’s postcard as he sauntered down the street. In his distracted state, he tripped and fell. His mother was closely behind and we all froze to see how he would react. He should have cried, our pouted, or screamed for his mommy but instead…he just laughed.

- Alison Royer

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