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Clown royal  

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Clowns somehow manage to simultaneously terrify and delight. That pancake makeup, the lipsticked rictus and the polka-dotted fat-pants all conspire to scare the hell out of some. Others -- namely, children -- are made of tougher stuff, and for them, a clown is not a nightmare, but a dream.

Enter a different stripe -- or polka dot -- of clowning in Geoff Hoyle, who is performing in Woodland Park from Saturday, July 16 through Monday, July 18 as part of the Colorado Festival of World Theatre. An altogether funnier and more intelligent performer than the birthday-party balloon-knotters who continue to plague my dreams, Hoyle has made a lifetime vocation of clowning and comedic acting.

Hoyle was the original clown for Montreal's Cirque du Soleil. He performed in the Broadway cast of The Lion King and has created several original shows, his most recent being Geni(us). He's a perennial fave of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., the Berkeley (Calif.) Repertory Theatre and San Francisco's ACT and Eureka Theatre.

Hoyle also appeared in Robert Altman's Popeye and starred in a movie called The Spirit of '76, whose central arc involved a time machine and disco.

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone as suited to clowning as Hoyle. The man's got a face like your favorite drunken uncle, only made of elastic, and clearly is well schooled in the art of visual punning.

His family-friendly one-man show for the Festival of World Theatre, Hoyle in One, is bound to be an exercise in plotted absurdity, with occasional stops at Vaudevillian glee and farce of a very learned class.

-- Aaron Retka

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Geoff Hoyle in Hoyle in One

Festival of World Theatre, Woodland Park Tent, 120 S. West St., Woodland Park

Saturday, July 16, 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, July 17, 3 and 8 p.m.; Monday, July 18, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $40. Call 475-1737 or visit cfwt.org.

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