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No clowning around for physical comedian
IT'S hard to say where you'd find your calling. Take, for example, Darren Partridge who was all set to become a police officer at 18 until he went to the circus and decided to run away to join one.
The 36-year-old hasn't looked back since and is currently in town performing in Cirque Adrenaline at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS).
"My life would have been totally different ... I had a contract to be an armed guard at a nuclear power station and thought about it but the opportunity to travel the world with a circus (was more attractive)," recalls the Coventry, England native who now lives in Florida in the United States.
Through the years, he has performed everywhere from Mallorca in Spain, to London's West End, Hollywood's Kodak Theatre and the Sydney Opera House, where his shows have broken box-office records twice.
In Cirque Adrenaline, Partridge once again slips into his alter ego Dizzy, the physical comedian - not clown.
"I hate the word 'clown' because it's slapstick," he says, while explaining even though Dizzy is the show's comic relief, the character doesn't wear oversized shoes or a red nose.
Cirque Adrenaline itself, incidentally, doesn't adhere to the conventions of a typical circus either. Instead, it updates traditional acts to turn the show into a heart-pounding, jaw-clenching "live" spectacle that mixes trapeze artists and fire-breathers with daredevil motorcyclists and stuntmen.
It also features one of Partridge's most popular routine which involves Dizzy squeezing himself into a giant balloon ("It's a crowd favourite!").
Asked what inspires his act, Partridge replies: "I'm a big daydreamer ... If I see something that makes me laugh, I will pursue it and find a piece of (accompanying) music because that helps to tell the story."
On the average, it takes about six months to perfect things ("The more time you put into it, the better you get") and Partridge feels the perfect "clown" must be good at anything ("I do magic, comedy, aerial acts - a bit of everything").
He even goes as far as to refine routines including one called "The Motivator", where four members of the audience would dance on stage before he ends up stealing one of their shirts.
"The audience loved it but it didn't have a (proper) ending," Partridge explains, before adding he has since introduced pickpocketing into the act. "Now there's a second dimension to it."
- Cirque Adrenaline runs at MBS' Grand Theatre until Dec 25. Ticket from S$38.50 from Sistic and at the venue's box office