Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: (Edmonton) Poe and Mathews (Fringe)

Exquisite Silliness
by Rebecca Edgewood
If I were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose two people to be out there with me, it would surely be gifted comic actors Emily Windler and Brian Kuwabara in their roles of Poe and Mathews, from the aptly-named Edmonton Fringe show ‘Poe and Mathews’. This gem of a show is just about the funniest piece of theatre that I’ve ever seen at the Edmonton Fringe. 
The premise involves the notable American writer Edgar Allen Poe and the lesser known (for, it seems, good reason) Cornelius Mathews, stranded together on a deserted island. How did they get there?  Ask Mathews.  Or rather, blame Mathews. Or rather, hand Mathews a rope, a rock and a sandwich and put him on a stage to see what happens next.

This is slapstick at its best. Both Windler and Kuwabara are professionally trained clowns (yes, that’s a thing) and they wield their comic skills with aplomb. Windler is the perfect comic foil as the ‘dark and mysterious’ Poe, and Kuwabara’s bumbling Mathews is delightfully frustrating. If you go expecting a great piece of dramatic theatre, you’ll leave disappointed, but if you go looking for a vaudevillian mix of slapstick and mayhem, you’ll giggle your way out of the theatre.  The comic timing was impeccable. The asides to the audience were brilliant.  The ‘island’ soundtrack in the background helped set the scene, and the use of a bell to “create narrative structure” is genius. Poe and Mathews is an exquisite exercise in silliness. Bring an extra pair of pants along… You might need them…

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