Day 5: Reviews & 3rd Time Out

Winnipeg Free Press
4 AND A HALF STARS
19 July 2009, 9:28 AM
The Last Straight Man In Theatre
By: Kurt Fitzpatrick
Too Much Free Time Productions / Brooklyn, NY

To call this solo-performed effort a one-man show would do a grave injustice to the dizzying cast of characters brought to life, often simultaneously, by New York writer/performer Kurt Fitzpatrick’s uniquely inspired stagecraft.

True, The Last Straight Man is all him, all the time, but it’s the way the various layers of him are presented that makes this a one-of-a-kind many-man sort of show.

Combining film and live performance in a way that places multiple versions of himself before the audience at the same time, Fitzpatrick creates an utterly convincing and crazy-wild ride through a strange night in a very odd neighbourhood.

After sashaying onstage in the guise of an overtired, oversexed black waitress determined to get her man to make the right moves, he quickly transforms into both sides of a seedy-diner seduction, a father scolding his son for drinking milk out of a beer glass and a kid looking for love online.

Fitzpatrick makes it all work, flawlessly, by carrying on conversations with pre-filmed versions of his characters, filling the silent spaces onscreen with live-delivered dialogue that always fits perfectly and never misses its target. It’s as weirdly amusing as it is deeply illuminating.

One man or many, however you choose to label it, it’s brilliant.

— Brad Oswald

*****

B+
The Last Straight Man in Theatre
Too Much Free Time Productions
Venue 3, The Playhouse Studio
Review posted: Saturday, July 18

In The Last Straight Man in Theatre, actor/writer Kurt Fitzpatrick plays a lot of people. He’s a confused teenage boy, a girl with a big neck and Venezuelan man-whore. He’s also a computer and he likes rice pudding. Perplexed? You should be. Still, The Last Straight Man in Theatre is a good play because despite its confusing characters, it’s always interesting. First off, Fitzpatrick is such an energetic entertainer that you straightaway admire him. Second, acting alongside a projection screen with video assistance, Fitzpatrick is able to perform next to himself and the conversations he has with the recording are perfectly in sync. Also, even if you don’t understand this avant-garde art, you’ll still enjoy many a laugh-out-loud moment. For instance, I’ve always enjoyed my peanut butter with jelly, but now I know you can also have it with privates. Who knew? Finally, there are kitties. Everybody likes kitties.

– Jared Story, UPTOWN MAGAZINE, WINNIPEG

*****

Well, Winnipeg Press is bipolar towards me as usual. In 2007, “Hooray for Speech Therapy” received four stars from the Free Press and one from the CBC Manitoba. This year it’s even more drastic – four and a half from the Free Press and, traditionally, one star from CBC. As I said before, I don’t bother to read the bad ones.

Apparently the Winnipeg Sun didn’t get the show, but did say the acting was great, which we will be using as a pull quote for promotion. The review you see above by the Free Press is the highest rating that both Alison and I have ever gotten, with five shows between us, including this one.

It was nice to wake up yesterday and learn about that review. I just know that Tom X. Chao is sitting home looking up Fringe reviews, and said to himself, “Christ, Kurt got panned!” Then he was comforted when he saw the Free Press one. Now he is baffled, and currently disturbed since his Google alert led him here and he ponders why I am writing about him in my blog.

In other good news, Alison’s hampster was found. She had left it at her parents’ house and he got out of his cage. He was found in a closet, and is currenly hissing at her brother Kevin. I was really glad to hear that. Not that he’s hissing (I didn’t know hampsters hissed), but that he was found.

Yesterday’s 6:30pm show went well. The audiences seem to be getting smaller from show to show, which may have to do with the timeslot. Also, the Free Press review has not come out in print yet. There are many shows here, so there is a lot of competition. I come across quite a few people in line-ups who have a massive schedule of shows to see that looks to be set in stone. Oftentimes, “The Last Straight Man In Theatre” is somewhere on their list. This is my third time here at the Winnipeg Fringe, and I have yet to sell out a show, BUT I would like that to change this year! I’m putting it out to the universe: Sell out! Sell out! Sell out!

I have a lot of feelings about the Fringe, being that I have returned after skipping a year, and seeing the kind of environment it is and the kind of work that it produces. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.

Today I am getting ready for my 5:30pm show, and we must promote, print programs, etc.

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