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Vancouver Fringe Festival – Putz (Review)

Welcome to the new Up Your Alley – we've lost the right but not our righteousness. I'll be busy today figured out all the new shite, but to get things kicked off, here's a Fringe review:

Scrupolosity…I don't know what it means. But along with words like
Herpesiphighonnoritis and Blahamablam, I can certainly guess the
meaning and be pretty certain that I'm right.

After all, just look at this guy:

His name is Andrew Bailey. He is a one-man show. He is a one-man show called Putz.
And interestingly enough, it's sort of a hetero-lesbian schizophrenic
one-man show. Intrigued? I certainly was. I've retyped the blurb in the
Fringe Guide, which can be found at Blenz locations throughout the city or online at the link above:

"Scrupulosity's Andrew Bailey has a best friend who comes out to him as a lesbian. He also has a psychiatrist who orders him to start dating. Then things get kinda weird."

Now
I have a couple things to say before I review. The Fringe Festival is
better organized than the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, which ran last
month in theatre throughout the city. I would like to thank PR maven
Jessica Nesselroad, along with the on-site staff tonight for their
help. They are professionals, so if you go to a show and decide to
flirt, keep it classy ladies and gentlemen. They have a job to do!

Secondly:
queer content this year is there, but you have to look for it. So check
back for updates next week. I have a couple more picks that I'll tell
you about then.

Review
I
came for the queer content and stayed for the flip chart. One-man shows
are a risky business. Being naturally inclined to monogamy, I speak
from experience. The highs are dizzying, the lows are depth-defying
and more often than not, hit rock bottom before you even know you're heading there. One-man shows depend on the actor, especially
one-man shows with props (you may naturally think of Carrot Top, but
don't because there is nothing natural about him *shudder*)

 

 

*insert blood curdling scream here*

Bailey's
character is a nerd. I'm not going to mince words. He is the nerdiest
of nerds: high socks, high libido, with a penchant for ordinary
button-ups and sensible shoes. Stalkerish, he also composes acrostic
poetry for his various paramours. If you are thinking it's a play
featuring the following Simpson's anti-hero:

You are correct. Milhouse Van Houton lives!!

There
are certain people who bring out the bully in me. Bailey's character is
one of them. I frequently had to suppress the urge to run up and pants
the guy and/or give an atomic wedgie, followed by a quickie wet willie
and snake burn for a farewell. That's a sign of good acting and good
writing my friends. Feeling anything is a good thing, though I have to say, watching the quickly-moving 60 mins
of this play was like hanging out with the guy at London Drugs who
fixes laptops after he's taken a couple tabs of speed.

Structurally,
it felt like two plays pieced together – the lesbian friend storyline
vs the shame of a sexually repressed 30-something. Though from the
pairing of both, the audience got to hear lines like: "we were a
society of two," which I thought did an admirable job of expressing two
distinct sexual solititudes experience by two very different
individuals.

So final word on the queer: mutton dressed as lesbian.
Queer content in this one feels like window dressing, but in the end
who cares. Bailey's delivery will make you laugh, so get out and see Putz,
hell, take your girlfriend(s) and/or boyfriend(s). Hell, just take your
firends. And bring your mom too. It's running at the Waterfront Theatre
on Granville Island, with shows on Sept 7, Sept 9, Sept 11 and Sept 14.