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Jo Tomalin

Avner the Eccentric: Physical Theatre

By February 13, 2013April 1st, 2013No Comments
(Above) Avner the Eccentric

The AMAZING Avner the Eccentric…

Review by Jo Tomalin

Avner the Eccentric

Avner the Eccentric performed his one-man show Exceptions to Gravity on January 29, 2013 at the Bankhead Theatre, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to see this world-class international master of physical comedy in an all too rare San Francisco Bay Area appearance.


Avner arrives as a janitor character busy sweeping the stage – aware of the audience he sits down to watch a show, but he is, unwittingly, the show. After a few moments looking at the audience he decides to juggle items he finds onstage such as baseball bats and a peacock feather. Sometimes he loses his hat or gets caught up in his clothing but he finds charming and clever solutions to each challenge.

Avner the Eccentric
(Photo: Marie Clauzade)

Later, he picks up a tall stack of paper cups and they seem to have a mind of their own as they bend and go out of reach, then one of his arms appears longer than the other…but again he finds a unique and entertaining resolution. Avner juggles, drops, defies gravity and plays with many other objects (and a few people), while the audience is totally absorbed in his fun and innocent world, laughing, oohing and aahing at his antics.

Avner the Eccentric

Oh, there’s something else, Avner the Eccentric never speaks a word. This is a silent theatrical clown show and Avner uses his physicality, eyes, facial expressions and timing so skillfully that he transcends language and cultural barriers – everyone understands what’s happening, especially if it seems like an impending threat (to him). In fact, the audience of adults and children enjoy this complicity, when the performer – and they – discover the situations Avner gets himself into quite accidentally and appreciate his creative ways out.

Avner the Eccentric

Avner is not only an expert clown, highly skilled at non-verbal physical communication, but he is also a magician. After an hour or so, Avner performed his Pièce de résistance – a special treat for the audience- Avner’s magical meal that playfully transforms itself unpredictably – and it thrilled everyone! Avner is brilliant and this was a fabulous ending to his show.

Interacting with the audience is the key to theatrical clowning and there is none better than Avner. He performed his one-man show Avner the Eccentric for a season on Broadway and co-starred in Lincoln Center’s production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. In addition to acting in various other plays, TV appearances, film, and international tours, Avner directs and teaches workshops for aspiring and professional theatrical clowns. Check out his Schedule for where you can find him performing or teaching next – Avner the Eccentric‘s show is a must see for everyone!

For more information:
Avner the Eccentric:
Bankhead Theatre – LVPAC:

   Jo Tomalin Reviews Physical Theatre, Dance and Movement Performances

Jo Tomalin, Ph.D.
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