Reviews - Fringe 2019


By Mark Fenton
Published July 22, 2019

The website info on this play is scant, and what it tells me is either self-evident or wrong. The performance isn't 60 minutes, it's barely 40. A Google search doesn't give me anything more. Nor can I find one of those postcard-size handouts that are SOP at Fringe plays.

A man walks onto a bare stage. He's broken into a woman's home and is waiting for her. He's tells us he's a serial rapist, but that we won't be seeing any violence in this show or hearing any profanity. I won't reveal whether or not she arrives but you can probably guess.

While he waits he fondles a knife, slices up some fabric, and educates us on 'his nature' in a monologue that falls somewhere between the ruminations of Dexter and Dostoyevsky's Underground Man. He recriminates the male members of the audience (all four of us) because, you guessed it, we all have the same impulses, most of us just don't act on them.

He describes some dubious neo-Freudian experiment that determines a child's personality type by observing what part of a chocolate bunny he eats first. You've guessed that his own childhood attack on the bunny was singular.

What's scary about the performance (I use the word 'performance' because I have no reason to believe there will be much similarity between this performance and subsequent ones) is the absolute terror of the man on stage. There are long gaps where the he appears to be struggling with his lines, or else trying to stave off a psychotic episode, I can't tell which.

About ten minutes into the play, there are a series of gruelling moments where he appears to have forgotten his lines completely and asks to be cued by the stage manager.

I wouldn't normally showcase an actor's lapses, but here they're compelling because I can't disentangle the terror we feel for the actor's agony from the agonies that are the play's content. When the play ends, he literally runs into the backstage shadows and doesn't return.

Maybe this isn't even a performance. Maybe I've fallen into a Black Mirror scenario where an escaped prisoner is hiding in plain site by travelling from Fringe stage to Fringe stage and no one has checked his references. Maybe I should call 9-1-1.

I not impressed enough to go again and see whether I witnessed mere amateurism or some high-concept guerilla theatre project. Let me know what happens at subsequent performances. It's far from the best Fringe performance I've seen but, intentionally or unintentionally, it's the most bizarre.

Mark Fenton lives in Hamilton and works in transportation logistics. He is the author Pim, a children's book for all ages. The eponymous Pim tweets daily @PIMSLIM_. A physical copy of Pim will be published soon and in the meantime Pim is available as a Kindle e-book which you can buy. Mark maintains a website at


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