The Georgia Straight is Vancouver’s major entertainment weekly. I was nervous, because the Straight sent their notoriously-hard-to-please reviewer Colin Thomas to the Victoria Fringe to review some shows. That way, they’ve got 15 or so reviews ready to go today, when the Fringe opens here in Vancouver.
Playwright Darren Barefoot doesn’t do anything fancy in terms of form, but his script contains ingredients that too many of this year’s Victoria Fringe shows lack: an original story and charming characters evoked through quirky details. Barefoot tells the tale of Jack, a Canadian computer programmer living in Dublin who falls in love with Aoife at almost exactly the same time that he develops worrying pain in his testicles. Some of the humour–including the chats his balls have with one another–is too obvious to be funny. It’s sweet watching Jack and Aoife explore each other as they explore their cultures, though. There’s humble intimacy in the moment when Aoife recites the tube stops of the city she loves, for instance. The heart, like the testicle, is such a tender organ.
The critics don’t seem to dig the talking testicles. The audience, on the other hand, generally finds them funny. Regardless, we’re pretty happy to have that review on the opening day of the Festival.
And, of course, we avoided some of Colin’s more scathing comments. He’s a very good reviewer, and there’s nothing more fun to write (or read) than a bad review. From reviews for some other shows:
- “It’s dull–for 90 minutes.”
- “I can’t imagine why they’re doing this show–unless they’re looking for a cheap way to tour Canada.”
- “This is supposed to be a creepy comedy about mysterious disappearances in Alberta, but it’s just an uncomfortable way to fall asleep.”