Review: Skillful clumsiness in “A Fool’s Errand”

Special Festival Coverage

“A Fool’s Errand” (Photo Credit: Sarah Xenos)

What if failure was not something to be ashamed of, but rather an endeavour worth celebrating? What if effort was rewarded regardless of the outcome, and the trying more important than the success? Would the entire known universe fall apart? Or maybe it would all fall into place?

In “A Fool’s Errand”, internationally renowned juggler, acrobat and clown Jamie Adkins plays a far less capable juggler, acrobat and clown – one who finds himself stuck onstage faced with the task of putting on a performance, and tries oh so very hard to rise up to the challenge.

He is a painfully average person who struggles to keep all the balls in the air, loses his hair, and puts his pants on one leg at a time – knocking over everything around him in the process. He scrambles about the stage picking up whatever he can find and trying to make some act out of it. He goes from juggling to music to unicycling to dancing to tightrope walking, and though each trick starts off as a miserably spectacular failure, over time they turn themselves around to create an unlikely and endearing success. Adkins somehow manages to drop, run into or knock over every single object on stage multiple times each, but between every fifty or so failures, there is a moment where he turns out to be surprisingly capable.

“A Fool’s Errand” (Photo: Amanda Russel)

Accompanying him onstage is tuba player Julie Houle. She seems far more collected than he could ever be, she is “the responsible one”, who in turn provides musical accompaniment, a distraction, or a helping hand to her clumsy friend. When he gets hurt and whines: “I don’t want to do it anymore!”, she urges him to keep going. Together, they miraculously assemble something that holds up – something held together by a metaphorical ball of duct tape, but held together nonetheless.

It would be a tall order to try to find a human being more adorable than Jamie Adkins. Even the small children in the audience didn’t measure up, not even the little girl behind me who stood up and exclaimed: “He’s going to break EVERYTHING!” (The children were loving it.) With his clumsy hands and his sad little face periodically lit up with the sweetest and most apologetic smile, the lovable Adkins charms children and adults alike. No matter how many times he makes you face-palm at his unfruitful efforts, it is impossible not to root for him. Every time he picks himself up and tries again, though one part of you might go: “My God, why is he still trying?”, another part will inevitably cheer him on: “Come on, buddy. Get it together. You can do it.”

“A Fool’s Errand” is a triumphant celebration of persistence, clumsiness and all of the messy and beautiful which makes up our lives. It is impossibly endearing, and a guaranteed fun time for all.

The Montreal Complètement Cirque Festival presents Jamie Adkins’


Venue: TOHU (2345 Rue Jarry E, Montréal, H1Z 4P3)
Dates: July 6th – 15th, 2018
Admission: $15.00 – $35.00
Box Office: In person at TOHU, by phone at 514 376-TOHU (8648), online at

Check out the festival’s full indoor lineup and free outdoor programming at

Violette Kay

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