It only takes two – ‘Circo Comedia’
BEAVER CREEK – If Lawrence Smythe and Jean Saucier’s “Circo Comedia” family comedy show at the Vilar Center tonight is as good humored as their interviews, you don’t want to miss it.These two funny guys play the straight man, funny man routine really well, even when they’re not in the same room. Although the supposed straight man, Saucier, did crack a few jokes of his own. “When you call Lawrence, tell him he’s ugly and that you don’t want a date with him,” said Saucier. “He’ll come back at you quick for that one.”
He did. With an over-the-top English, intellect’s accent.”The highest beauty is internal. I’m here to remind even the ugly people that they can be attractive inside,” replied Smythe. “But really, I am the beauty and he (Jean) is the beast. Well, OK, maybe not. It’s actually just that Jean’s jealous he’s not English.”Off they went with quip after quip, each anticipating what the other would say, a skill Smythe and Saucier have refined during their last seven years as a comedic team. It makes sense when you hear how it all started.”My partner at the time booked a show for the same date as I did. I had to find a replacement quickly,” said Saucier. “Lawrence agreed to do it. He wrote the cues down on a piece of paper, but then he lost the paper. Humor comes from confusion and there was some real confusion then. Lawrence is strong on improv. He’s a really funny guy. People were interested in our work as a team and the show has grown from there.”
Saucier describes the show as a cross between Cirque Du Soleil, (Saucier was with the popular company for a time) and Monty Python. “I would describe this as clowning. It’s not stand-up comedy and it’s not Bozo. It’s more of a European style of comedy mixed with Vaudeville. The straight man, funny man formula is what makes it work,” said Saucier. “It’s very emotional, full of fear and excitement, accented with humor.”The fear and excitement comes from Saucier’s stunts. Whether he’s on a unicycle or balancing precariously at great heights, his acts deliver the drama. Smythe keeps it funny.
“My favorite part of the show would have to be whenever I’m on stage,” said Smythe. “No really, I could say it’s funny because I’m funny. But it’s really funnier because we’re together. It’s richer. Together, we can play out the human dilemma. He’s the authority and control and I’m the mad wonder of folly. Humor comes from these different people sharing the world with each other.”These thoughtful statements bask in the light of Smythe and Saucier’s obvious genuine comedic talent. Their sincere banter hints at the chemistry the audience can expect to see on stage. The show opens with Smythe and Saucier, in colorful character, trying to make sense of chaos. Another state-of-being at the heart of good comedy says Smythe. “I was the baby in a family of five with two Army Sergeants as parents,” said Smythe. “And the rock and drug revolution was taking shape around me. In all the chaos, I had the freedom to watch and take it all in. Life is the greatest school of all, and I think it made me pretty funny.”
And versatile. Smythe plays seven characters in the action packed 60-minute show. Each piece has its own theme ranging from the Wild West, to the Middle Ages, to Las Vegas. Between the stunts, the comedy and the light spirit of its stars, this show is designed for family appeal.”I’m not scared to say this is an excellent show,” said Saucier. “The elements of risk combined with the circus type acts, like me on the unicycle, appeal to all ages. It’s very visual and easy to follow. That makes it easy to enjoy.”Both Smythe and Saucier reference the great comedians of their time like Jackie Gleason, the Smothers Brothers and Dick Van Dyke, when describing their show.
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“There is not a lot of good down home comedy and variety out there right now. Those shows that appeal to parents, teens and the young ones,” said Smythe, a happily married father of two children on each end of that spectrum at 10 and 23 years old. The show is always changing too, a good thing for repeat offenders who are planning to see this encore performance at the Vilar Center. New costumes, new music and new characters will keep it fresh. “The danger makes you breathe in,” summed up Smythe, “the comedy makes you laugh and you breathe out. That’s comic relief.”Who doesn’t need a little of that in their life? Get your dose at the Vilar Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. To buy tickets, call 845-TIXS (8497) or go to vilarcenter.org.Vail Daily