Fringe Festivals offers many an entertainer to experiment. Some shows have an afterlife where it becomes a sensation, and other shows might pitter out, to be forgotten. Everlast by Kevin Koch is a work in progress, where this creator eventually wants to take it on tour. Even he admits that it needs refining.
In what I’ve seen in the final weekend of the 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival, there’s a great seed of an idea; to challenge world views from not only within organized religion but also in how people see life. After having two random encounters with “missionaries” in my neighbourhood looking to spread the word and me expressing to them that I have my own world views to follow and I do not need theirs, going to this show could not be timelier.
The show is rough at the edges, like it’s mirroring the soul of Marty (or Pope Martin VI) on purpose. He’s come from a tough life. He grew up in the tough streets and has Rocky Balboa and his mother as inspiration. This character might have said he’s from Philadelphia, but as with any sermon I tend to hear, in one ear and out the other (unfortunately).
Just how Marty managed to achieve residency and move up the papacy is almost a head-scratcher. He boxed his way to the top. God, on the other hand, is a timeless character and I liked the fact that Koch’s interpretation is very Old Testament. I was more engaged with his fight with Lucifer. How can anyone not want to miss this match?
Marty has his own good book, and up to seven chapters are recounted as he offers his own discourse about life, universe, everything. Lucy is a close friend he met when he was a kid at a Catholic orphanage, and while we never hear her voice, we know her through Marty. She’s comes through as very self-absorbed, and try as Marty might to win her heart, she puts him down at every turn. He’s trying to challenge the patriarchy and expound on his world views – more often than not, his actions are meant to get Lucy’s attention.
When he’s ready to challenge God, her “liberal” role provides a dramatic turn for the narrative.
There’s humorous moments to appreciate in this show. This commanding performer also provides engaging hilarity where he voices God, Mary and Jesus like they are All in the Family. They’re the highlight in this dramatic comedy of errors. As Marty, Koch does a terrific job at channeling Balboa to a tee. To see how this show is going to evolve will be fascinating to follow.
I feel it just needs to be tightened so one message is offered instead of a few. My preference is with a greater focus on his obvious interest in getting in a close relationship with Lucy.
3½ Blokes out of 5