— Wicked Shorts
In a novel and brave bit of counter-programming, The Cultch has remounted one of last year’s Fringe hits at the same time as this year’s Fringe hits got remounted elsewhere. The gamble pays off. The four playlets that make up Alley Theatre’s Wicked Shorts, some reworked since last year, are a sheer delight.
Marisa Smith directs Guy Christie and Elizabeth Kirkland with panache in the four brief two-handers staged in the cabaret-style setting of the Vancity Culture Lab. Kudos to Lauchlin Johnston for his scenography, especially the lighting that transforms the space from piece to piece. What a pleasure to sit and drink while these two attractive young performers go at each other alongside your table.
Matador Love stages a very bizarre blind date between a studly matador, in love with himself, and an apparently shy but actually explosively foul-mouthed, highly sexed librarian. Christie’s matador gets the best line: “Isn’t that the point of a blind date—you lie and lie and hope to get laid.” He’s fun but Kirkland’s librarian is great.
Rendez-vous is a stylish, stylized piece, narrated by Kirkland. Its subject is a discreet French waiter (Christie), a lonely guy who wants the best for his guests and is “calm, professional, invisible.” Key line: “Love is never easy—especially on a first date.”
You’ll Probably Come Back is the most serious piece and the weakest. It also feels the longest. Semi-mysterious and slightly absurdist, it has Kirkland as an anxious sister dropping in on her estranged brother after their mother has died. The acting is fine but the script promises more than it delivers.
Monsters in the Closet ends the evening on a very funny, wacky note as Sue learns that her boyfriend Tim is a homicidal monster serial killer—a byclops, to be exact, half-human, half-cyclops. This is Christie’s time to shine, as byclops Tim “just wants to be understood.” But Kirkland is also adorable. I loved them both.
This is a really sweet show and lots of fun. A great date night.