A multi-cultural collision as comedy: FOB, a guest 12thnight Fringe review by Alan Kellogg

FOB. Photo supplied.

FOB (Stage 10, Acacia Hall)

One of the valuable aspects of any Fringe worth its salt is offering younger, less experienced — or locally less known — performers and creators the opportunity to strut their stuff (or at least try out their ideas) in a high-visibility, professional setting. A nifty by-product can involve work that actually reflects their communities. And, if the audience is lucky, the package can be entertaining.

And that what happens in this agreeable light comedy written and directed by Aksam Alyousef. The story involves the literal collision (cultures and cars) of Samar (Amena Shebab), Adam (Bahaa Harmouche) and Tina (Madonna Gonzalez) on Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary.

Adam and Samar have been married for ten years and have immigrated from the Middle East. Tina is local Edmonton lawyer whose divorce practice is itself on the rocks.

(Some) fun ensues as a desperate, rattled Tina attempts to convince the bickering but ultimately solid couple that splitting up is the way to go. Each of the likeable cast members have comic moments. Shebab, in a kind of Charo-meets-Gracie Allen approach, was particularly appealing. And the gentle juxtaposing of cultural clichés – the sheesh hookah, camp chairs, full cooler of Mediterranean snacks vs. constant harried cell phone use and general uptightness — is kind of endearing. Alyousef has a real talent for spinning off one-liners.

At any rate, the packed opening night crowd, which, judging by the hugs after the show included many friends and family, absolutely loved it. You’ll likely walk out with a smile yourself.

Alan Kellogg



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