Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: (Toronto) Elvis and Dick (Fringe)

You Don't Know Dick
by Max Gorokhovski

Elvis & Dick chronicles the closed door meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon. The description that they list would have you believe that this is a fun romp through fantasy land, where Elvis and Dick partner up, 70s cop style. That would be a terrific show indeed; sadly it is not the one we get. In its place we get an hour and half of dull dated jokes and out of step choreography. The show is plagued by one massive problem surrounded by a series of smaller issues that only serve to highlight the mess that this show is.

The biggest problem this show has is that writer/director Brian Kennington thinks he has written a funnier show than he actually has. The jokes are all old and tired with no fresh spin on them. Elvis the drug addict with no sense of shame about his philandering, tricky Dick and his bumbling naiveté/criminality. These jokes not only feel dated but they all feel dull and lifeless. With the main joke already a flat mess, it would take a series of golden moments from the one off moments to help turn things around. Sadly, the fantasy sequences and all the other characters are all just as mundane as the main story. Kennington simply has not found a way to tell the tropes through his own voice and instead recycles what we have all seen countless times before.

Further adding to the problems of the musical play are the song and dance numbers. The cast gets lost frequently and lose flow with one another. It is almost as if they are all trying to be the lead dancer and hence lose sense of where the others are.

The one bright side of this entire debacle is Kevin Jollimore as Nixon. He channels Nixon's ghost better than most big budget Hollywood productions.

At the end of the day all Elvis & Dick does is show you that even with high production values, for a Fringe show, that does not mean you have a product worth anyone's money. Save your money for a better show, like Sperm Wars or Watch out WildKat!

July 2 - 13

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