September 13 Fringe reviews from Colin: The Immaculate Big Bang, Teaching Shakespeare

Here you go: Fringe reviews numbers 26 and 27 from me. Including Deneh’s reviews, that means that there are 36 reviews on this site so far. More to come.

Stand-up comedian Bill Santiago is presenting The Immaculate Big Bang at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

It took me a while to adjust to Bill Santiago’s energetic performance style. How Canadian is THAT reaction?

THE IMMACULATE BIG BANG

Bill Santiago’s comic monologue is so much better than the rest of the stand-up I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe that he makes the other guys look like they’re sitting down.

Sparked by the death of his father and the birth of his daughter Cielo, The Immaculate Big Bang is about the meaning of existence and the nature of reality—so, yeah, it’s ambitious. And Big Bang finds its core when that ambition kicks in—not just when Santiago explores the weirdness of the multiple, bubble-like realities posited by quantum physics, but also when he delves deeper into his family history, including his beloved father’s compulsive philandering.

Once that groove is established, some of the funniest material is about religion. This includes Santiago’s suggestion that the Bible’s book of Leviticus be replaced by Green Eggs and Ham: “Sam I am. I am Sam.” It’s so cryptic and redundant, he argues, it would fit right in.

There are some great quick jokes. Dogs are now allowed into heaven, he reveals, on the condition that they’ve only had sex people-style. And there’s a hilarious bit involving a Kermode dragon that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself.

Santiago is still working on this material and it needs tightening, but the morning after seeing Big Bang, I’m still laughing at my favourite bits.

Remaining performances at Studio 1398 on September 15 (10:25) and 17 (6:30)

 

Keir Cutler is presenting his solo show Teaching Shakespeare at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

In Teaching Shakespeare, Keir Cutler’s prof character is a frustrated actor.

TEACHING SHAKESPEARE

Comedy doesn’t work very well when it moves in a straight line.

In Keir Cutler’s monologue, Teaching Shakespeare, he plays a nutty Shakespeare prof who’s delivering a class. Unfortunately, the narrative trajectory is obvious: the lecturer establishes his illogical position early on—“Assume the author is infallible…Defend every part of the play at all costs”—and things just deteriorate from there.

For me, the most interesting material involves serious discussions of how the Bard uses rhythm: “As the character is flawed, so is the meter.”

In terms of storytelling, I longed for more surprises.

Remaining performances at the Waterfront Theatre on September 14 (5 p.m.), 16 (2:30 p.m.), and 17 (8:50 p.m.)

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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