Thelmo Parole – Clown / “The Show Must Go On”
“Laughter is an instant vacation” so said Milton Berle. The Spanish entertainer Samuel Penhastro, who currently performs as Thelmo Parole, is proof of this maxim. The Walthamstow based clown, who moved to the UK some two years ago, has regular shows in the North Hall, Covent Garden where he performs with payment at the viewer’s discretion. He also takes his show on the road, performing in Sudan, Kuwait, the Edinburgh Festival and, more recently, as part of the "Busk in London" festival 2015.
When asked about his show Samuel Penhastro is sanguine. “As Thelmo Parole, I perform a silent solo show which includes juggling, acrobatics, mime, poetry and audience participation. I appreciate today, the clown has become a figure of horror and fear, as portrayed in some films like “It (1990)”, “Fear Of Clowns (2004)”, “Poltergeist (1982)” and “Drive Thru’” (2007). The list is endless. The clown has also been portrayed as a figure of ridicule such as in an episode of the multi Emmy winning sitcom “Frasier (1993-2004)” where the psychiatrist is trying to cure one of his patients of Coulrophobia (a fear of clowns). What I do is quite opposite to this, playing someone who is instantly likeable and happy. It’s pure escapism. I guess, what I’m ultimately doing is sharing the love in the form of 'light entertainment'.”
Since the demise of Variety Theatre, clowns were mainly seen at children’s parties, employed in the entertainment of younger people, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I want to ensure the clown maintains his status as a leading figure of positive entertainment. No longer restricted to Children’s entertainment but aimed at everyone.’
The clown’s provenance is rooted in the Middle Ages and was often found performing where people gathered, in market places, so it is appropriate that Thelmo Parole can be found in and around Covent Garden, street festivals and in theatres.
More recently clowns were seen as wearing bright, garish costumes, larger than life, and appearing somewhat grotesque in order to enhance their comedic appeal, hence possibly contributing to a not so uncommon fear as Coulrophobia. A 2014 YouGov poll suggested 4% of Brits are ‘very afraid’ of clowns.
“Thelmo Parole is very different” Samuel states. “he cuts something of a sartorial elegance, like a very modern day ‘dandy’, sure to turn heads if seen out and about on London streets. He would certainly fit in and thought of no more than just a happy ‘eccentric’.” Samuel adds “Thelmo is elegant, he wears purple in his costume, a regal and papal colour. In many ways he’s quite sophisticated.”
Throughout the show Thelmo disrobes to show a more cheeky side. “It’s all very tasteful and in good humour. There is nothing offensive, as I want the whole family to come and see the show”. Samuel asserts. “I have something for everyone!” he adds with an impish glint in his eye, “in my understanding the ‘clown’ is a language. An attitude!”
Thelmo Parole returns to Covent Garden from mid November, performing most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
24 - 26 March 2016 - Dubai Festival.
31 March - 2nd April - Khartoum Festival.
1 & 2 May 2016 - Harewood House, Geronimo Festival
29 & 30 May 2016 - Tatton Park, Geronimo Festival