Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe Outline and Scrapbook

Matthew Child -- Scrapbook through the 70's, 80's, and 90's

Matthew Child and Barbara Doherty went to Australia during the winter of 1978-79. George-O sometimes used the name Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, and so did Matthew and Barbara, but sometimes they didn't. By 1980, Matthew was touring out of New York City as a solo act, but he worked more and more in California, and moved there later by the end of the decade.

(Above) *Matthew Child and Barbara Doherty at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus, Spring 1978, with the Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe.
(Right) Matthew Child circa 1979 at an undisclosed location, possibly New York City.



(Above) **Matthew Child as Alby Jennings in Clint Eastwood's Sudden Impact (1983). Matthew told me all of his scenes were filmed at night, even the memorable sequence at the Jennings' home, supposedly taking place during daytime.
(Left) A handbill from the early 1980's, advertising Matthew's characters like Sugar Ray Raymond, self-defeating boxer; Histrionic, gesticulating, Arnold Orater; Racey Ken Duncan; and Larry Regular, turned down by 4867 and one-half women to date -- HE'S UGLY! 
(Click to see a larger version)

Digital facsimile of a review from The California Aggie (Davis, California) -- May 12, 1980
Child Fills Playhouse With Zany Mime
By ALICE DAWSON
staff writer
  Last Friday and Saturday nights Matthew Child mimicked and characatured everything from college professors to Volkswagens, forcing laughter out of every audience member during his performances at the Palms Playhouse.
  Child used his dance and mime background and natural comic ability to exagerrate his observations to absurdity in everyday life, creating some very absurd characters and situations.
  Most of this show comprised the antics of 3 major characters: A silent-mouthed professor who literally dives into his work but whose gestures are unintelligable, a frustrated athlete who wins by cheating, and a woman-hungry nerd attempting several pick-ups.
  Although he created a successful mime troupe that toured internationally, Child's style was not pure mime. His movements were exact and revealing like a mime' and although he did not speak often, he did speak.
His several costumes were simple but effective -- such as the nerd's greased back hair, huge glasses and horrendous brown plaid and checked suit.
  Perhaps Child's most outstanding asset was his mouth, capable of creating an entire character on its own by almost disappearing in the professor, or growing wide and uncontrolable in the nerd.
  The creative spontaniety and physical capability of this performer constantly amazed the audience. When a man in the audience blew his nose, the football player ready for ascrimmage offered him a Kleenex without missing a beat. When he was a little boy at the raceway discussing cars with the audience he always had a quick reply. When the nerd wrapped two chairs around himself, he could still dance to the jazz music.
  He had no trouble getting the audience to participate in his show,
Matthew Child who performed weekend shows of comedy, dance, and mime at the Palms Playhouse, captured himself in a tight headlock.
as they eagerly roared like race cars and answered the questions.
  Although the audience compre-hension was widely varied, there was a character to appeal to everyone. The little boy athlete who knocked out the baseball catcher, tripped the quarter-back, and kicked the basketball guard,
waving a 3-inch American flag after each victory, was familiar to many parents and frustrated athletes.
  The nerd at the concert, convinced he is going to pick up a beautiful girl, fanta-sizes a love affair between two chairs, dances with a sex-crazed pimple-coated giant, and accidentally smashes a girl who is 2 inches tall, comic-ally distorting the woes of single life.
for any lecture-fatigued student, one of the more amusing characterizations was a professor who was assured ofhis genius and enthusiastically lectured, but the only things to come out of his mouth were "bubble, yak, shoepolish, spew, eech," and periodic "questions?".
  Maybe Child's father helped him with this one -- he is chairman of the UCD economics department. Eve Child, Matthew's mother, did a routine at the beginning, and flashed smiles with her eyes, and tapped, danced, and sang as adeptly as any talented youth.

  Mike Moore's saxophone, piano, and a few noisemakers provided unexpected music and sound effects for Child's antics.

  But it was Matthew Child who transformed the stage into a fantasy world populated by the oddest people. And although some of the people may have been ugly or downtrodden, Child's baby smile and amused eyes always made them lovable, and left the audience applauding, wishing for more.

(Above) ***Matthew Child performing The Breeze and I -- digitized images used by permission of the choreographer.
 
Matthew Child was a founding member of Run For Your Life, It's A Dance Company, based in San Francisco, performing with them until 1994.
Matthew choreographed a series of dances set to the music of Thelonious Monk, and presented his show in the Bay Area during late 1995.
Earlier that same year, he returned to Amsterdam for a short reunion with Katie Duck.

Most images from the collection of Patsy Droubay, with many thanks. *From a video by Michael Evans, digital color by M.E.***Dance sequence Matthew Child 1987
**Portrait of Matthew Child from a partial still image from Sudden Impact 1983 Warner Brothers Pictures -- used for biographical purposes in the context of this essay ONLY.
All Rights Reserved for use in this site Michael R. Evans 2010  Email Me