Clowning fun for all in Unique Derique’s ‘Fool La La’   

Bay Area clown Unique Derique appears in “Fool La La: Gift” on Saturday afternoons in Berkeley; during the run, a pre-show sequence pays tribute to African American artists. (Courtesy Keith Criss)

Youngsters onstage with clown Unique Derique in Berkeley portray a rain cloud watering a flower in a pot, and a rainbow popping up. It’s truly charming, and among many delights in “Fool La La: Gift,” running Saturday afternoons at The Marsh through March 9. 

Unique Derique, who has been entertaining Bay Area families for years, pulls the flower and cloud costumes (and numerous other fun props) from a huge, ribbon-topped gift box in the 75-minute show for kids of all ages.  

Toddlers as young as 3 will enjoy the festivities, but so will older folks, who also get invited to partake in the shenanigans in the spotlight. 

At a recent performance, a full-grown fellow had an amusing bit, squeaking a rubber chicken under his arm at the behest of Unique Derique.

While the audience participation sections of “Fool La La” are particularly invigorating, it’s also a riot to watch Unique Derique’s skillful physical comedy. He juggles hats of multiple shapes and colors, rings that glow in the dark, bowling pins, and even a wispy feather he manages to balance on his chin. 

Unique Derique juggles up a storm — hats, rings and more — in “Fool La La: Gift” at The Marsh Berkeley. (Unique Derique YouTube screengrab)

Oh, and he balances a full-sized unicycle on his face. He also rides the unicycle, and a bike, in an opening video sequence in which he meanders through Berkeley streets on his way to the show. (He stops to wait for a plush stuffed turtle to cross the road.) 

Fully engaged in the 21st century, Derique also packs high tech into his show, with colorful and light displays, references to artificial intelligence, robotics, and electronics and beat boxing. His considerable creative team includes Briaunna Caver, Bradley Markwick, Vicki Wong, David Rosberg, Aaron Kohr, Julian Jordan, Chris Palowitch, Kevin Myrick, Blake Radiant, Jack Weinstock, and Gitty Duncan.  

The lively original music is by Camilo Landau.  

With an emphasis on visuals over dialogue (great for little ones!), “Fool La La: Gift” is co-written by Unique Derique (his alter ego is Lance McGee, a wellness consultant and coach) and Calvin Kai Ku, who also directs.      

Derique, also known for his dynamic “hambone” body percussion, invites patrons for juggling and hambone workshops after each show. And in observance of Black History Month, he’s starting each performance during this run with a tribute to African American artists. He recently focused on Sammy Davis Jr., with video clips of his family’s vaudeville act, as well as the tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers, whose incredible movement in the “Jumpin’ Jive” number in the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather” remains unsurpassed.    

 “Fool La La: Gift!” continues at 1 p.m. Saturdays through March 9 at The Marsh, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley; the show also streams. Tickets are $20-$35 and higher at

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