Fool Muun Komming
The Invisible Theater of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
Is loneliness — and the attempt to ward it off by creating fictional worlds inside our own heads — the common thread that connects us with aliens from outer space?
No doubt about it, according to Fool Muun Komming, Sam Kruger’s one-man, oddball tribute-to-cum-spoof-of the science fiction genre. Kruger played to a small but appreciative crowd at La Nouvelle Scène on Thursday, the opening night of the 22nd Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Employing his gift for physical theatre and wearing a form-fitting white outfit with red gym shorts that highlights his every movement, Kruger enacts the story of an unnamed visitor from a distant world. This alien has difficulties with English and a fondness for gorging on the blood of a rooster at breakfast, but he isn’t terribly different from us.
True, he does play out a funny and doomed romance in which his fingers are the two would-be lovers and his nose the mountain separating them. And when an imaginary feline named Cat Stevens morphs into a radio broadcasting Latin dance music, you wonder just what sort of imaginary space you’re in and how you got there.
But the touching denouement of this smart, tightly executed show yokes human and alien, and our differences dissolve in a common hunger for a connection that is, Kruger makes plain, at best fleeting.
Drawn That Way
Petulant Guppy Theatre, Ottawa
Bebe Queen’s drag-queen show starts promisingly. Bebe Queen (Bebe Brunjes), all heels and sparkly eyeliner, cavorts between the cabaret tables at Live on Elgin as Kesha’s Boogie Feet thunders through the small venue and the crowd eggs on Bebe’s enthusiastic, leggy performance.
Alas, the rest of the show doesn’t measure up to its first few minutes.
A mix of weak comedy bits (at one point, Bebe jokes about “forefathers, forebrothers and … foreskins”) and music (Jumpin’ Joel Flash was among Bebe’s guest performers on opening night, although guest artists change every time), the show is stitched together by Bebe’s own story of coming out, including the first time he fell in love.
Andrea MacWilliams on guitar and Kenny Hayes on keyboard composed the music for the show. They also serve as backup when Bebe, who’s performed within the straighter confines of Orpheus Musical Theatre, belts out numbers with both conviction and pleasing power.
Writer/director Victoria Luloff and company have the bones of a good show here, but the script is still less than insightful (being provocative for the sake of provocation wears thin), Bebe’s lines and her character are still distant acquaintances, and the repartee between Bebe and MacWilliams cries out for split-second timing if it’s to work at all.
The Ottawa Fringe Festival continues until June 24 at various downtown venues. ottawafringe.com, 613-232-6162