Victoria Event Centre
1415 Broad Street
Mon Aug 29 – 10:30pm
Fri Sept 2 – 8:45pm
Sat Sept 3 – 4:45pm
Sun Sept 4 – 6:45pm
Jeff Leard is a very kinetic performer and in his latest Victoria Fringe Festival outing, The Jupiter Rebellion: A Zach Zultana Adventure, he’s the type of guy who can capture a room and keep everyone laughing for hours. Previous years had this entertainer do one-man children’s stories like Rumpelstiltskin and last year had the laugh-out-loud parody Sperm Wars. When performing unique works, he’s very much in his element. The way he leaps and bounds, switch characters at a drop of a hat and work out a sweat under those hot stage lights, is amazing. I’m sure this handsome performer will have many a female stare dreamily at him in any production he’s part of. He’s certainly an action and comic star (think Harrison Ford meets Robin Williams level) of the Fringe circuit.
With this latest sci-fi comedy show, he tries to get the girl, Alexandra. She, unfortunately, happens to be the wife of the CEO of the Saunders Mining Corporation and he does not take kindly to Zach’s antics. He was the captain of a starship once, but he got demoted along the way. Eventually, he’s tossed to the lowest of any kind of station, to be a miner at an asteroid. Eventually, there’s a rebellion when the workers learn of Zultana’s philandering ways and they believe he’s the type of union leader who will gladly stick it to the man! His bosses do not think highly of him, but he does have the support of Nikolai and Jack to help out.
This one-man act manages to play them all and even when he flubs an accent (or character) because he’s so fast, he manages to improvise a fourth wall breaking moment to get added laughs. The night is like being in a small venue to hear him pitch a movie frame by frame, complete with cues and terminology a script writer would know (CUT TO, TRANSITION, PAN RIGHT), to a board of producers. There’re moments where I got to thinking this is Zapp Brannigan’s life (from Futurama) if he ever got caught and given a second chance to mend his ways.
The comedy is out there. Leard and co-creator Ron Fromstein are a fantastic team. In what they crafted in The Jupiter Rebellion beats out Red Dwarf for zany appeal, and that’s not an easy thing for me to say. I was in stitches when Zach made the best Star Wars joke that’s not only familiar but just intensely appropriate. The energy moves at a fever pitch and that’s the type of show Leard gives. I can’t wait to see what he and his troupe comes up with next year!
4½ Blokes out of 5