Day 3: Still Dividing Critics!

Saturday I had no shows, but was out and about flyering and watching shows. I saw four shows yesterday! The StarPhoenix reviews went online yesterday. That’s the only newspaper here in Saskatoon. The reviewer did not like the show at all, but did provide me with some fun pull-quotes. Here is what she said:

“Fitzpatrick is actually the cult hero of the Saskatoon Fringe Festival.”

Actually, she said that in the context that the play may have gone over her head and, if so, I am indeed the cult hero of the Saskatoon Fringe Festival. So I am going to take that title!

“Fitzpatrick is a cowboy in the Wild West of Fringe theatre.”

What does that mean? Who cares? It’s sounds cool, and I’ll be using it.

Meanwhile, a reviewer who reviews for the Fringe blog (and used to be associated with the CBC Saskatchewan) gave me an unofficial five star review. He said they eliminated the star system, but he would have given me five stars. Here is that review:

*****

The other fabulous one man show I saw on Friday was Kurt Fitzpatrick’s The Last Straight Man in Theatre.

This is an ambitious performance that puts Fitzpatrick both on stage and on film acting with himself. Fitzpatrick creates several characters presumably in the same town. By using some blinds as a projection screen and A/V equipment, Fitzpatrick is able to act off himself (and even three versions of himself in one sequence).

The plot, or lack of a plot, reminded me of what David Lynch would do if he ever created a comedy. Some scenes are just plain bizarre, but one wants to go on the journey with Fitzpatrick because it is so original, and he is such an engaging actor.

There are too many memorable characters to discuss in a short review, but my favourite sequences involved a scene with a gigolo and a shy woman who is doing her master’s degree in human sexuality. I also loved the absurdity of a scene with a young man who is wanting to visit his ex-girlfriend, but it stopped by her father who spends all his time on the roof spying on the neighbors. The description of what the next door neighbors are up to makes this truly a Fringe play (not for children, for sure). I will also give a special mention to one of Fitzpatrick’s more bizarre characters, a creepy lonely rich man who, with a Dr. Evil voice, gives a five minute long monologue in an attempt to order rice pudding.

I admire this production greatly. I especially love the risk Fitzpatrick takes in relying on A/V equipment and the film they shot of him to act off for most of the show. The timing and choreography to make this work is impeccable, and would have required a great deal of rehearsal.

I’ll also give you a hint: do not try to figure out the meaning of the title. At one point, a character in the play mentions watching the Terry Gilliam film Brazil, and being disappointed that the title had nothing to do with the movie. This was a hint that, as an audience, we shouldn’t be too literal when viewing The Last Straight Man in Theatre.

This is one of the most original and funny productions at this year’s Fringe; it is also one of the best.

*****

This review was written by Jason Dubray and can be found at http://www.25thstreettheatre.org/category/blog

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