They don’t call them “fringe” festivals for nothing. With titles like I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You, the 2011 Hollywood Fringe looks packed with theatrical land mines. One misstep and…kabloowie!
Take the LA-based comedy trio Sound & Fury’s Spaceship Man, a simply ghastly 70 minutes of self-indulgence that makes water-boarding look like a viable option. And consider that, with fringe shows set in alternative spaces, that can mean there is no escape for the desperate theater-leaver–except right across the stage in the middle of the performance. If you’re the polite type, then you are trapped. So be forewarned.
The publicity for the show claims it’s a sci-fi spoof “ in the signature Sound & Fury style: Vaudeville-Nouveau! Full of song, silliness and sex…ual innuendo!” If only.
It’s interesting to note that the critical raves cited in the group’s publicity come solely from Canadian, British or Australian news sources, which might indicate that S&F can’t buy a thrill where American critics are concerned. Add me to that list.
What poses as broad Python-esque—or maybe Beyond the Fringe-like—humor gets short-circuited early on and devolves quickly into a witless search for meaning within a dopily structured scenario based somewhat on the geeky clichés of Star Trek, Dr.Who, etc.
You keep praying for the end, but it never comes, as the individual players return, time and again, to deliver windy, soul-sucking speeches.
The good news is that the June 19th, 11 p.m., performance at Artworks Theatre & Studio, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., was the group’s swansong with this piece. On to something better, mates. Anything, really.