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Theatre Conspiracy calls its latest play a “zany clown-noir dramedy.”

And yep, “Clown Bar” is just as silly as that description suggests.

The story takes place in a seedy “clown bar,” a joint frequented by a colorful cast of drinking, pill-popping, prostituting, murdering gangster clowns. But non-clowns — the show’s audience — are also welcome at the bar (sort of).

There’s a crooner singing clowny songs like “Clowns Get In My Eyes.” A burlesque clown dancer named Blinky Fatale. A psychopathic gang enforcer dragging around a bloody ax to the music of real-life, clown-themed rap duo Insane Clown Posse.

You get the idea.

“They’re all clowns,” says actor Rob Green, who plays gangster boss Bobo. “They’re all wackadoo, you know?”

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The clowns of Theatre Conspiracy's "Clown Bar"

Into this violent clown underworld full of rubber noses and oversized bowties comes hardboiled police detective Happy Mahoney — a reformed clown trying to solve the murder of his younger brother (a junkie and former clown hitman).

Actor Steven Coe — who plays Happy with a steely nerve and Humphrey Bogart accent — says he knew from the start he had to act in “Clown Bar.” It combines two of his favorite things: Circuses and old film-noir crime movies like “Double Indemnity” and “The Big Sleep.”

Steven Coe plays hardboiled police detective Happy  Mahoney in Theatre Conspiracy's "Clown Bar."

And it’s really funny, too.

“It’s a classic send-up of your old noir movies, all the crime dramas, and it throws on that modern layer of the scary clown,” Coe says. “It’s just constant jokes. It makes fun of every single trope down the line that you can think of. So it’s a great time.”

Even better: “Clown Bar” takes place in an actual, working clown bar, built just for the Alliance for the Arts show and its audiences.

All the theater seats have been removed and replaced with booths and cocktail tables, says director Bill Taylor. And you can order real drinks from the bartender. The bar opens 45 minutes before each show.

“As soon as you walk through the door and into the theater, you’re in Clown Bar,” Taylor says. “It’s really kind of an immersive experience.”

Rob Green plays mob boss Bobo in Theatre Conspiracy's "Clown Bar."

Taylor and the show’s cast can’t wait for audiences to see the wacky world they’ve created, full of nonstop clown jokes, wacky gunfights, moody noir lighting and over-the-top characters.

“We’re trying to lay it on as thick as possible,” Coe says. “The more ridiculous, the better.”

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells is an arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Email him at or connect on Facebook (, Twitter (@charlesrunnells) and Instagram (@crunnells1).

If you go

What: Theatre Conspiracy’s “Clown Bar”

When: Aug. 18-28

Where: Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers.

Tickets: $30

Running time: About 75 minutes with no intermission

Info: 939-2787 or