Saturday, February 22, 2014

Theatre: These Guys

Variegated Productions
Created by Libby Klysz, Brent Hill, Ben Sutton, St John Cowcher and Michelle Nussey
Directed by Libby Klysz
Performed by Ben Russell, St John Cowcher and Michelle Nussey, with Alwyn-Nixon Lloyd 
For Fringe World
PICA until Feb 22

There’s only one thing wrong with this gem of a Fringe show: it leaves you wanting more, but the bastards won’t give it to you.

Here’s the deal. As you go in to These Guys, you’re asked to put stickers on photos of characters on a wall. The director, Libby Klysz (who co-created the show with her cast, Ben Sutton and Brent Hill) explains that the most popular characters will appear, while the ones we vote for least will be discarded.
It’s a cute enough idea. The trouble is, over the next 50 minutes, we had such fun with the characters we chose that we were left wondering what we missed. They’ve got 10 minutes of their allotted hour to go, and a few characters left, and we get shown the door. What’s the deal with that, huh, Klysz?
What we do get are eight short vignettes, all featuring the terrific Michelle Nussey as a woman named Sarah. These Guys, the one we chose, are the men who are either in her life or come across it, all played by St John Cowcher and Ben Russell (who are both also terrific).
Each little story could have a title: The Pregnancy Test; Money Trouble; The Barista; The Astronaut; The Bus Stop; The Beach; The Concert. Each has its own performance style – The Barista is a flirtatious, hilarious mime by Nussey and Russell, who’s teaching her the arts of coffee and seduction; Money Trouble is a taut dramatic piece about a woman and her impecunious father – and each has its own point to make. Along the way we build a picture of Sarah as a sincere, funny and, frankly, gorgeous young woman who deserves everything she gets, and much more than these guys, by and large, give her.
Klysz’s direction is tight throughout, the production is clever and skilful, and all four performers (Alwyn-Nixon Lloyd provides keyboard accompaniment) look like they’re having a great time.
So maybe, if you ask nicely, they’ll come back for an encore. And you’ll get to see the bits they left out.    

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