Master storyteller Jeff Leard is telling the world he’s not limiting himself to one kind of act. As part of Story Theatre Company, he puts on very kid-friendly products for people of all ages to enjoy (I went to see him perform Rumpelstiltskin and Other Tales the day before) and as a member of Random Samples Collective, he can certainly put on a very hilarious take of a George Lucas classic retitled Sperm Wars. To wonder how the trench scene gets interpreted meant I had to see this show when no other program got in the way. Making the choices in what to see first can often be difficult. Sadly, the only time open was on the last day of the Victoria Fringe Festival. The good news is that this show is continuing at other conventions coming up like the Vancouver Fringe.
To see Leard in Sperm Wars proves why he is the reincarnation of Robin Williams. He channels moments from Good Morning Vietnam from this late and great comedian with equal finesse when the big fight comes. The big fact is in how he uses a similar narrative style — to give a play by play blow. Just like his other shows, Leard is very deft in how he changes characters. There’s at least seven that he has to keep track of. Each of them have their unique persona so anyone can tell who he is, either as Xandra or Spock from the X-Chromosome-Wing and Y-Chromosome-Wing fighter squad detachment that resides in the genitalia of an undisclosed human male about to engage in sex with an unknown female. In the other world, there’s Emily and Eve. As a side-note, I particularly loved how Admiral Akbar is played and I noted an air of familiarity where I could swear he was playing Kryten from Red Dwarf in C3P0’s place.
This Herman’s Head take of what goes on during conception in another part of the body is hilarious. I have to say this play also ranks right up there with Mel Brooks‘ Spaceballs when considering how well executed the humour is. Most of the story takes place moments prior to the Battle of Yawin and the world is meticulously well thought-out to reinterpret aspects of penetrating the shields of the ‘Death Star’ (the Uterus in this case) and yet remain biologically correct for what goes on. Fortunately, without going into too much detail, I feel the quote, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side,” says everything that’s needed about this show.
The world Leard constructed sounds like it should belong in a pulp fiction rag waiting for Flash Gordon to invade its pages, and this show can no doubt continue should this performer manage to figure out how to further the material. That’s going to be hard to do when considering the fates of many a character, but a follow-up must somehow be done. Not only has this performer teased at the thought, but also the instant fans will be begging for it. Maybe he will have to wait for Episodes VII to IX for inspiration. No one wants to touch I to III.
4 Blokes out of 5