The Roxy Theatre (Venue 7)
2657 Quadra St
Yes, I’m going on a theme this year – to attend all the shows at a venue when they are back to back and when they fall into the category of horror, science fiction, mythology, supernatural or fantasy. The umbrella term is speculative and it covers the gambit to which I enjoy the most. I am generally up to date on in the world of popular culture. On day two, I was hanging out at some old haunts: the Roxy Theatre. I lived in the area during my childhood years, and always have fond memories of what was then when compared to now. Last night started “A Little Bit Zombie“-ish.
Sat Aug 26 – 7:30pm
Wed Aug 30 – 7:45pm
Thurs Aug 31 – 5:00pm
Sat Sep 2 – 10:00pm
Sun Sep 3 – 5:00pm
No, the fish Mr Flubbers does not have the spotlight. Had he have been, then maybe I could find the humour in the situation: two people, who are succumbing to the zombie virus, trying to live normal lives. While they are not far gone, just what they have to say about life as a member of undead society is worth investigating.
Although this show is billed as a comedy, I’m seeing more of a dark drama about how difficult living every day can be without some kind of social interaction. Alice and Finn only have each other. The first act recounts how they became infected, the second about how they wish to connect with the outside world, and the third, a realization of the path they constructed for themselves can not be changed. A lot of detail and thought has been put on the prelude, offered up as a memento of the show, and some of it is revealed during the show. This dossier is worth the read since it fills in the blanks. A few copies are offered and payment is by donation.
While this Fringe production is no iZombie, it has the potential to be a deeper and meaningful product if presented differently. The execution needs refinement. For this work to stand out, it should not be a fish out of water. In theatre, we do not see a lot of productions about zombies. Victoria Fringe Festival had a few lumber by in the past. The most memorable was in 2010, with a huge musical dance production, Z-Day: The Anthem for Post-Zombie Apocalypse and very theatrical The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Since then, not a lot of shows rose from the grave. The Fringe Festival circuit is ripe with troupes experimenting with this sub-genre and sadly not all of them reach Victoria, BC. Perhaps what the producing team here needed to do was look at A Girl With All The Gifts if they wanted their product to be socially relevant.
3 Blokes out of 5
Sat Aug 26 – 9:30pm
Sun Aug 27 – 3:45pm
Fri Sep 1 – 5;30pm
Sat Sep 2 – 12:30pm
Sun Sep 3 – 8:45pm
Ben San Del dazzles audiences with his personal tales from the dark side. In his intro, he defined what speculative fiction is for the audience and moves into each story with carefully executed cues to the technician to control the lights. Curiously, no soundtrack is offered and I felt that would have added more to the presentation. This show is mostly spoken word, and Del delivers his metaphors with precision and inserts tiny bits of humour to keep me excited like a kid at a campfire.
San Del’s show is a must see for anyone who loves speculative fiction (hence the show’s name). He not only entrances but also enhances each tale with his energy as he moves around the stage. When I was carefully listening, I was wondering how much of what he’s telling (“In the Web”) is being like Aesop’s Fables. His other stories feel like they should belong in one of Rod Serling‘s Twilight Zone episodes. It was with those tales I got hooked. Each story delves into each sub-genre, and my favourite is “A Footnote on the Headstones.” This story examines what remains of a person after death and what is important in order to remember those people. No, it is not a ghost story but is actually science-fiction. “The Cage” is a spooky tale about a young lady trying to understand the cosmos, and I think H.P. Lovecraft will approve.
Part of where these stories come from is in this performer asking those difficult what if Life™ questions to himself, and fleshing out his answers in how to go on into a story plot. I admire how this performer manages to compress five stories in all to an approximately 50-minute show. If he ever sets any of them down to paper, I will certainly have to buy the book!
5 Blokes out of 5