Monday reviewer Sheila Martindale continues her look at Victoria Fringe Festival theatre shows happening here this week.
Death – A Romantic Comedy
Rob Gee is one of those talented individuals who can keep up a hilarious patter for an hour non-stop. It’s a laugh-a-minute, and in the end the content hardly matters, it’s all so amusing.
OK, most of what he says is with a heavy British accent, and laced with British idioms, which can lend an air of incomprehensibility to the rapid chat, but no matter – he prattles on regardless; and he drags his audience with him, laughing all the way.
Don’t ask how he does it – just go along and enjoy! Death runs until Sept. 2 at Wood Hall – be sure to catch it!
Red Bastard: Lie With Me
This play aims to seduce the audience, and it succeeds! The clown, in a hideous lumpy costume, and provocative red and white make-up, challenges individuals to reveal secrets of their love lives – have they ever cheated on their partners? In thought, word or deed?
So I suppose the show is different each night, depending on who is in the audience and who responds to his probing questions. It doesn’t seem particularly salutary, but I can assure you it is extremely funny.
His movements are fascinating and very creepy, and he engages with the audience on several levels. Maybe if you don’t find ‘sin’ to be particularly amusing, this might not be your first choice of plays to see at this year’s Fringe. But if you’re cool and comfortable with the foibles of human behaviour, do go – and be prepared to have some rather naughty fun!
Red Bastard is on at the Metro until Sept. 2.
As You Like It, Solo
I always find the Readers Digest version of Shakespeare rather fascinating; I mean, how do you decide what to leave out? And how do you make a coherent production of what you decide to keep?
This particular one-person show, starring Jennifer Ciceri Doyle, is interesting and well done. We start with the wrestling, and a very fine piece of theatre this is. Most prominent is a couple of spectacular ‘throws’ featuring a heavy body landing with a huge thud on the mat – ouch!
Doyle does a creditable job of playing all the parts, and only occasionally leaves us in the dark about who is who and what is happening. She does a quick shirt change now and again, and also introduces a couple of different costumes – that of a lion, and at the end a dress which could be a bridal outfit.
Lutenist Douglas Hensley plays very beautifully, but there is a disproportionate amount of singing by Doyle, which is good but slightly overdone for the length of the show.
Anyhow, this show is worth seeing for its sheer inventiveness and the clever use of the few props used. As You Like it, Solo runs at Wood Hall until September 2nd.
Confessions of an Operatic Mute
This is comedy at its best! Gentle, self-deprecating humour, free from vulgar language, which holds your attention from start to finish, and leaves your face aching from the grin plastered on it.
Briane Nasimok relates his history with theatre and particularly with opera, and his abysmal failure with women (tongue-in-cheek, I’m sure) of all ages and descriptions. Throughout the performance, we see glimpses of sadness – at his father’s death for example. We also see his triumphs large and small; the time he fulfilled his lifelong dream to appear on stage at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto being a major accomplishment.
Smaller incidents, such as the confusion created by the odd spelling of his name, have their funny side. One story leads into another seamlessly, leading to a united and delightful whole performance.
Don’t miss this one! Only two more performances, next Saturday and Sunday at Wood Hall.