If you read the show notes, you might expect KosoWhat Production’s Incognito to be a show about a clown, striving to survive in a world where clowning has been made illegal, and the protagonist would be struggling to keep his clownish proclivities secret from the world at large (something akin to Mike Kosowan’s 2015 Fresh Meat performance, Train Compartment).
At the start of Kosowan’s show, there is a general mistrust and comedic condemnation of clowns established (hearkening back to 2016’s rash of creepy clown sightings), however it really isn’t the focus of the show; in fact, by the end, it’s largely irrelevant to what is going on.
What Kosowan has for us, rather, is a performance that is part magic show and part cautionary tale, delving into the trouble an impatient clown can get into when he decides to try his hand at more mystical arts…
These days, if I don’t have have the time to see a clowning show at Fringe, I feel I’ve mismanaged my time in the worst way possible, and Incognito just reinforces that theory. Right from the get go, Kosowan has the audience in stitches with his awkward buffoonery, and I could tell that this show would lock in at a high 4/5.
First and foremost in this performance, Kosowan is the clown. Ridiculous antics, slapstick physical comedy, his ability to anticipate and play on the reactions of the audience: these all add up to a thoroughly fluid, thoroughly entertaining performance. On top of this, though, he is also the magician, and has managed to find an intriguing balance between the chaos of the clown and the control of the illusionist.
For the purpose of his show, Kosowan’s illusions stay pretty basic (card tricks, sleight of hand, etc…) and, as one would expect, tend not to work as he intends them to. You laugh, time and again, as he struggles, as he draws the wrong card from the deck, but then there’s the switch–the moment that you realize you were so caught up in the comedy that you missed the magic, that he had the right card right where he wanted it all along. It’s simple, but it’s misdirection at finest, and it will not fail to impress.
I can’t say a lot more without giving out spoilers, so I’ll just reiterate that this show is a treat and a showcase of all Kosowan’s skills as an entertainer: clowning, improv, magic, and some spectacular juggling as well. If you can, get yourself a front row seat; you’ll want to see every little thing he does and, who knows, you might even get called up to help with one of tricks.
And be sure to stick around for final bow of the show’s cast. 😉