Walking out of the Last Clown on Earth, there is little in the way of words to describe what we had just seen; an assault to the senses, which began with what looked like a beggar scrambling over our heads to make his way to the stage. Celebrating twenty years since their Fringe debut, award-winning Russian physical theatre company Derevo return with their solo masterpiece, which immortalises the notion of the clown, a mimed cycle of self-sacrifice and rebirth.

Anton Adasinky, incorporating his spectacular mime, butoh, visuals and sound, adds a never-ending layer of pathos to the Last Clown on Earth, (which, if we were to admit it to ourselves, isn’t the sort of title which suggests a joyful hour of carefree sillyness), his inner joy trapped in this darkened cycle. With the premise of darkness having encased this clown’s world following the explosion of the sun, this performance is inherently dark, physical, exhausting and intense, and by no means an easy light-hearted watch.

Religion plays a heavy part in this, as we often see him answering both to God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, whether it be the moment he plays both Adam and Eve as they are seduced by boredom and the forbidden apple, which seems to take on an eccentrically post-modern trip, or the surreal video that sits in the background. He certainly explores the sins and vices of humanity with this show, which is like a mirror of our darkest behaviours; absurd, dark, poignant, and giggle-wrenching all at once.

Created and directed by Derevo founder and the sole actor Anton Adasinsky, this gallant piece of physical theatre takes the human soul and fleshes it out in dance, mime and visual theatre to shape something spiritual and abiding, particularly mysterious and Russian in style. The subtleties of his movement on stage are what add the crux of the acclaim to this solo performance. A bold statement in theatre.

Derovo’s Last Clown on Earth runs until 28th August at Pleasance Courtyard, 17:40.