Puddles has welcomed over 100,000 people to share his beautiful voice and silent clowning, and Edinburgh is the latest addition to his guest list.

It is not the simplest thing in the world to carry out a transatlantic interview via Skype with an act that doesn’t talk, but in the case of Puddles, the 6’8″, white-faced, sad clown there is no alternative.

Puddles, who is bringing his show to the Fringe this year, never speaks – although he does sing – and I’m glad to see he has brought a pen and paper to write little notes. He is sitting at a piano at home in Denver, in full make up, wearing a shiny white Pierrot clown suit with black buttons and a tiny crown. On top of the piano is a plastic statuette of Mr T from The A Team and a small tartan box. He opens the tartan box, takes out a clown nose and a little pointy hat and hands them to me through the screen.

I am being invited into the world of Puddles, the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice.

“Would you like to sing for me?” I ask, and Puddles smiles sadly, begins to play and suddenly a rich, high baritone voice soars into the first lines of Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

“I walk a lonely road…”

His remarkable voice may already be familiar. Puddles is an internet sensation, with 100,000 fans. More than 20 million people have watched his YouTube cover version of Lorde’s song Royals.

He tells me there will probably be 12 songs in his show, Puddles Pity Party at Assembly George Square, which will include a mixture of old and new numbers.

“Are they all sad songs?” I ask him.

Puddles gazes at me with big, dark, liquid eyes and begins to cry. He writes me a note. “It’s good to feel sad. #feelings.”

A former member of the Olivier Award-winning alt-cabaret group La Soiree, Puddles has just returned from Australia, where he performed at the Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

How did that go? I ask him. He writes me a little note. “Australia tastes great. They like coffee.” For some reason this makes me laugh. Puddles stares into my eyes for a few disconcerting moments then launches into another song.

“Friday night and the lights are low. Looking out for a place to go. Where they play the right music, getting in the swing. You come to look for a king….” Suddenly I feel all emotional. I’m tuning into Radio Puddles.

I ask the Sad Clown how he feels about coming to Edinburgh. He looks terrified. “It’s a big deal,” I say.

“It’s a huge deal.” He mimes.

“But there are things to look forward to as well,” I comment.

He writes: “I love Highland cows.”

It has been a strange interview, unsettling, disconcerting, emotional. But I think I understand why Puddles prefers to communicate directly with his audience using music and mime. I’m intrigued, strangely moved and charmed, and I think Edinburgh will be as well.

Where & When
Puddles Pity Party, Assembly George Square Gardens, 6-31 August (not 18, 25), 7.25pm, from £10, Tel: 0131 623 3030
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Words: Claire Smith   Photography: Brent Leideritz

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