Walkouts! Right on! At the first Vancouver Fringe performance of You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting at a Play, about a dozen people exited in various states of anger and disgust. For San Francisco bouffon performers Ross Travis and Nathaniel Justiniano, that has to be a badge of honour; bouffon clowning is all about provocation and facing things we’d rather avoid. Travis plays Shreds, a character with a very long dick and dangly nuts, and Justiniano is Patches, an elephantine woman. Riffing on Hamlet’s concerns with mortality, this duo takes us to dark places, including an old folks’ home, where they gleefully list the things they don’t want to think about; my favourite scenario includes a burst colostomy bag and pink eye. In the midst of riffing on decay and death, Travis and Justiniano parody our culture of obliviousness and evasion, referencing everything from international politics to The Lion King. The Fringe used to be about taking risks, as opposed to distracting large audiences and optimizing box office returns. Thank God—or some darker force—that these guys are bringing risk back.
At Performance Works. Remaining performances on September 7 (4:10 p.m.), 9 (5 p.m.), 12 (10:30 p.m.), 14 (4 p.m.), and 15 (2:35 p.m.).