London Clown Festival 2018: 8 shows not to miss

Clowning is an art form that extends well beyond face paint, red noses and water-squirting buttonholes.

The circus clown is just one tiny corner of a community of comics using slapstick and physical comedy on stage.

In its third year, London Clown Festival celebrates slapstick and buffoonery (that’s a technical term) until June 3.

Here are a few of the highlights to look out for.

Butt Kapinski

Butt Kapinski is a private eye investigating a murder, but can only do it with help from the audience. Character comic Deanna Fleysher’s interactive show is very much adults only, taking you through a whirlwind of sex, sin and subterfuge.

25 May, The Albany, 240 Great Portland Street, W1W 5QU,

FOC IT UP at The London Clown Festival Scratch

Andrea Spisto, who programmes the festival, has teamed up with Kemah Bob from Femmes of Colour Comedy Club, FOC IT UP, for a collaboration of clowning and comedy that centres around the perspectives of people of colour who identify as women, non-binary or feminine.

May 28, The Albany

The Porter Cabaret

Featuring everyone’s favourite Shakespeare character and inventor of Knock Knock jokes, the Porter from Macbeth, five clowns present their own mostly improvised interpretations of the drunkard, each trying to ensure they give the most memorable performance.

May 31, Mirth, Marvel and Maud, 186 Hoe St, Walthamstow, E17 4QH,

Nina Conti is Monkey

Puppetry artist Nina Conti has been working with Monkey for 15 years. Now Monkey has taken over entirely, and Conti finds herself in the role of sidekick. The British Comedy Award winner is a national favourite, commanding stage and screen. Here’s a chance to see some of her work in progress before it hits the big theatres.

June 1, Mirth, Marvel and Maud

Waiting For It with Wild Dandelions

Alice Motta and Andrea Spisto of Wild Dandelions collected the material for this show during Edinburgh Fringe, when they walked around with a banner asking: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? The content is slightly more off the wall, with two scientists on an adventure to a futuristic Latin-American continent in search of “it”.

June 1, Mirth, Marvel and Maud

Clowns Without Borders Cabaret

Raising funds for refugee children, Clowns WIthout Borders is a charity who use laughter to alleviate the suffering experienced by children fleeing war and disaster. They use clowning and imaginative play to allow the children to experience their childhood, despite the hardship they face. This show features performances from Helen Duff, Ben Targer, Kat Bond, Richard Todd and more.

June 1, Mirth, Marvel and Maud

Elf Lyons: Chiffchaff

Elf Lyons was nominated for best show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Chiffchaff is an early look at her new show, which she will be taking up to the festival in the summer. This one woman musical about the economy will attempt, with an orchestra and an invisible hand, to make fiscal matters fun.

June 2, Mirth, Marvel and Maud

For a full programme go to