While traditional ideas of clowning involve such clichés as juggling and riding unicycles, Zuma Puma (aka. Nelly Scott) offers a different sort of clown experience with her show Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It! Eschewing tricks for commentary on feminism and gender identity instead, there is a whole lot of weirdness mixed with a timely narrative on the afore-mentioned topics.
Held in the smallish Bally tent in Gluttony, Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It! begins with some playful audience interaction, setting the scene for a fun show of light humour. This part, although fun, probably drags on for a little too long and does not advance the rest of the show in any way. The show takes a 180 degree turn from here though, as Zuma is instructed by a somewhat powerful other being to behave in line with societal expectations of women. What follows is a strange, and sometimes dark, look into feminist issues, punctuated with humour along the way.
Zuma Puma comes across as an accomplished performer of comedy and physical theatre, and also handles the dark moments of Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It! with great skill. Without spoiling too much, it takes great commitment to perform ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ with a sock puppet vagina, but Puma does it with humour and grace, turning something strange into something quite moving.
There are moments discussing sexual violence which are slightly jarring when compared to the material that had preceded it, however, this heightened the emotional impact of these scenes. These parts also worked well within the wider narrative, giving way to a satisfying and happy conclusion.
There are plenty of moments in Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It! where I was dumbfounded, confused, and wondering what I was going to see next. Zuma Puma really commits to the material and delivers a show full of surprises, with weird and wonderful twists telling the tale of the feminist struggle in a sometimes cruel and unforgiving world. Full of humour and poignancy, there is never a dull moment in Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It!, and I can honestly say that I haven’t quite seen a show like this during the Fringe. For a show you’ll still be talking about days later, this is the one to see.
Don’t Do It, Don’t Do It, Do It! runs until Sunday 10th of March. Buy tickets HERE.
By Tania Nicholas