Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Kuwaiti Moonshine (Winnipeg Fringe)

by Nanette Soucy

The crux of the play is an ultimatum. Cuffed to a door in a Kuwaiti prison wherein he finds himself for bootlegging date rum, our hero Andy has to choose: kill, or be killed. A tense moment, for sure. Unfortunately, Tim Murphy’s performance of the tension, anger and fear of that climactic moment eats the entire show, leaving us unable to feel the love - for his Parkinson’s besought mother, his erstwhile girlfriend, or his niece and nephew - that he tries to impart as his life flashes before his eyes.

This anxiety, so thoroughly embodied might well be real, as it contributes to the difficulty of following the rather complex cast of characters by Murphy’s inability to keep their names straight, and having to correct himself at least a half dozen times throughout the course of this 1-hr one-man show, which seems written as a break-neck run-on-sentence punctuated with ubiquitous “And Then, and then, and then” and fails to set the scene in any way that makes us feel like we’re following a story in the dusty Middle East, rather than listening to a drunk on a tirade at a party.

Other than Our Hero Andy, the only other character we see on stage is Québécois Jean-Luc, who’s differentiated by a backwards baseball cap and a terrible and inconsistent accent. We’re told Jean-Luc is pretentious, and this is somehow shown to us by his enjoyment of Nickelback and tendency to speak in the 3rd person, which make him seem more childish than anything.  Pretentious: It does not mean what you think it means.


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