An experienced clown of traditional style which to some might feel dated, Bobo’s final performance was to a unappreciative crowd upon whom he unleashed the anger of twenty five years of frustration and resentment, the prompt request from the duty nurse for him to leave the sick children’s ward resulting in him arguably having as bad a day as trainee clown Pepe, berated by his hero who then collapsed and died rather than proceed with the lesson.
The service for the legendary Jean Ducoque attended by Bobo, Pepe and their peers within the clown community where good humour is strictly a show for the punters, among them Funzo whose eccentricity might better be described as psychosis and the Great Alphonso whom Bobo believes stole his act and now intends to steal his it’s-never-going-to-happen potential girlfriend, the memorial is reluctantly covered by journalist Jenny Malone who would rather be anywhere else until the tin-whistle village of Naherbawn becomes the epicentre of the apocalypse.
Directed by Inside No. 9‘s George Kane from a script co-written with Demian Fox, Shane O’Brien and James Walmsley, it should be apparent that despite the colourful mismatched costumes Apocalypse Clown is a black comedy which wears a brave smile in the face of disaster as a solar flare brings chaos across the globe, the electromagnetic pulse crashing communications systems, rendering technology useless and affecting the minds of those who were outdoors when it struck.
Those few who were sheltered now unable to access information or summon help, against marauding living statues it is up to Bobo, Jenny, Funzo, Pepe and Alphonso (David Earl, Amy De Bhrún, Natalie Palamides, Fionn Foley and Ivan Kaye) to pile themselves in the clown car, locate boyband survivor turned conspiracy theorist survivalist Tim (Tadhg Murphy) to determine the truth of the situation and get the message out, though it soon becomes apparent that if things go bad it will be every clown for himself.
Already struggling to accept the irrelevance of clowns in a modern society and now faced with the limits of their talents, it might be that the end of the world is the appropriate time to have an existential crisis though Funzo at least carries herself with a conviction so profound it scares the audiences in the boutique forest festival where Pollyanna McIntosh has gone native, while Alphonso’s arrogance fools nobody but the pack of feral children he commands to do his bidding.
The empty spaces of rural Ireland sinister when the promise of civilisation just beyond the horizon is removed, Apocalypse Clown is a tale of red noses, thwarted ambition, gunge tanks, revenge and making the best of things while hiding the tears behind a painted face, perhaps shuffling unevenly in its oversized shoes but with moments where the inappropriate shenanigans of the clown posse transcend the insanity of their situation, laughter the last resort response to a world gone mad.
Apocalypse Clown will be in UK cinemas from Friday 1st September