Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Dazzling Underbelly is packed with crazy humour

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Jayson McDonald's tour de force takes us on a hallucinatory journey of rebellion inspired by the life and work of William S. Burroughs.

McDonald's mastery of the Beat genius's style is dazzling--especially when Willie, the central narrator, breaks up a piece of prose and collages it to create new meanings: cutting off a finger for the love of a boy who didn't care turns into giving that boy the finger. The script is full of crazy humour--"He packs half a dozen of his favourite cats into his rucksack"--and darkness: as Burroughs did, a gunfighter character puts a bullet through his wife's head. There's beauty, including Willie's ecstasy in being up the ass of a boy who offers him his "strawberry". And there's beauty in the masterful performance: at one point, McDonald transforms from the gentle Allen Ginsberg into the laconically acidic Burroughs within the space of a sentence. Again! Again!

At the Waterfront Theatre on September 9 (3:35 p.m.), 10 (9:40 p.m.), 14 (10:40 p.m.), and 16 (6:45 p.m.).

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