Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: (Winnipeg) Hitchcocked (Fringe)

Dial C for Comedy
by Edgar Governo

No one is more surprised than I am to discover that having a plot helps Sound and Fury a great deal.

In my review of last year's Dirty Fairy Tales on this site, I complained that as unapologetically goofy as this troupe is, more focus was called for to give their show some cohesion. Richard Maritzer, Patrick Hercamp, and Ryan Adam Wells have clearly taken at least 39 steps in the other direction with a narrow focus on the style of Alfred Hitchcock--and without a shadow of a doubt, the improvement is enough to throw that notorious show from 2012 out the rear window.

Maritzer does his best Cary Grant impression and carries the plot as a man who knows too much trying to catch a thief in a sordid tale of blackmail, murder, sabotage, and suspicion, where the young and innocent are menaced by the rich and strange. There are far fewer contemporary pop-culture references this time around than in some of their recent shows (for which I was grateful, given the retro tone here), but just as many puns (for which I was also grateful--this is still Sound and Fury, after all).

The most impressive moment actually comes at the very beginning--through some clever editing, Alfred Hitchcock presents the show and its cast himself, and I confess I was spellbound. (That introduction, which must've taken forever to put together, can be found on the show's website.) Hitchcocked also features much more direct incorporation of video than the troupe is usually known for, leading to one hilariously well-handled technical problem at the performance I attended.

A frenzy of metafictional moments towards the end (including a dark, but undone, ending that I wish they'd fully committed to) leaves the cast with a touch of vertigo, but no hint of stage fright as they warp the fabric of narrative reality itself. Mixing up genres and styles, while including the audience and improvising with abandon, are what Sound and Fury are known for, but a solid story gives them the rope from which to hang a better show.

Hitchcocked is at the Winnipeg Fringe

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