Coulrophobes beware: the clowns are coming to Vancouver this spring


San Francisco “neo-clowne” outfit Fou Fou Ha is coming to the Rio Theatre in March.

Coulrophobics may want to stay indoors this spring. But, for those who don’t fear clowns – who, perhaps, even love them – then Vancouver has a couple of shows for you.

First, the Rio Theatre is bringing Fou Fou Ha, a San Francisco-based gender-bending “neo-clowne” cabaret, to town on March 25 and 26. Not to be outdone, Vancouver has its own clown cabaret, The Assembly, an all-women ensemble performing at the Revue Stage on Granville Island April 2.

Want to know more? Read on.

Fou Fou Ha is here with an original production, entitled Whoa-Man! A Musical. Whoa-Man! includes circus antics, dance numbers, music ranging from Broadway showtunes to Missy Elliot, and audience interaction. Inspired by online-dating, the show’s makers describe it as “a satirical look at the lives of four women and the tortures in trying to find ‘perfection’ in a modern world. A story only clowns could tell. Shoulder pads and dance routines will dazzle and elevate you, leaving you wanting more. You will laugh, sing and cry.”

The Fou Ha Ha's in Whoa-Man! A Musical.

The Fou Fou Ha’s Whoa-Man! A Musical.

The show was conceived, choreographed and directed by Maya Lane, with original acts developed by the four-woman, two-man cast.

Here’s Lane, founder of the troupe, describing her inspiration: “I created FFH in 2001 after a year in Holland studying dance theater. I was inspired by European street theater, buffoonery, transformative theater and audience interaction. So I took my 15 years of ballet, musical theater, jazz, hip-hop and drama roots and created a dance troupe of character performers with a Euro cirque feel, mixed with a dash of club-kid aesthetics and a cartoon sensibility. I wanted to have slapstick dance styles mixed with Fosse flair all performed by physical character performers to bring in the individual aspect.”

The Assembly, meanwhile, is a Vancouver-based all-women ten-piece clown collective. They are presenting their cabaret Day Old Fools on April 2 (the day after April Fools Day). According to a media release, the show features “solo performances, experiments in abstract opera, heartfelt moments of wonder, tears of joy, jeers at toys, in an all around absurd and meaningfully fun-loving spectacle.” And it’s rated A+ – for Adults Only.

Several members of The Assembly including Y​vonne Chartrand, Emma Garrod, Lisa Voth, Sharon Bayly, Naomi Steinberg, Melissa Aston, and M. Press Flame. Photo: Hoang Do.

Several members of The Assembly including Y​vonne Chartrand, Emma Garrod, Lisa Voth, Sharon Bayly, Naomi Steinberg, Melissa Aston, and M. Press Flame. Photo: Hoang Do.

The Assembly was founded in 2013 and has since produced four successful full-length shows in East Vancouver.

The Assembly’s Day Old Fools is at the Revue Stage (1601 Johnston St.) on Granville Island, April 2. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at

Fou Fou Ha’s Whoa-Man! is on March 25 and 26 at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway), doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Tickets are $25 advance at and $30 at the door. The show is 19+ adults only with bar service.

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