A clown in the gender war: Larry. A Fringe review.

Candice Roberts in Larry. Photo supplied.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Larry (Stage 36, La Cité Auditorium)

Larry is one of those shows that will make you laugh, out loud and often, for reasons that you will never be able to quite explain to others. Or even to yourself.

Larry, the title dude from Moose Creek B.C., is the centrepiece of this solo comedy by and starring the fearless Candice Roberts. And, honestly, if anyone had told me I’d be using the term “riotous” for a satire of the old-school macho dude-ism Larry embodies so fully — a target you’d think would be officially well past its best-before date — I’d have smiled ironically. OK, I’d have thought about using the word “trope” (but, hey, resisted since it’s so pseud-y).

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At the Fringe, clown shows come in every size and shape, with or without the proverbial red nose. Even by these elastic clown standards, Larry is an outsider, looking in at the artsy world of showbiz. “How hard can it be to do a show?” he wonders, wading in with a cheerful audience participation demo of headbanging “to start things off right.…”

“Holy shit, the sound guy’s a girl.… Hey sweetie, want me to show you how to press PLAY?”

Call me crazy, and maybe it’s the frankly fake beard, but there is something about Roberts’ performance that is very funny. She’s a highly skilled physical comedian, and, as you’ll see in the course of Larry, her bravery is virtually unlimited. The portrait she creates is not exactly affectionate, of course. But it recognizes and savours absurdity, and a kind of dumb-ass innocence, in Larry’s zest to engage.

Larry has caught glimmerings of the notion of self-improvement. To attract the approbation of  a smart, cool, artsy lady he feels is clearly out of his league, he’s willing to consider change — a big risk for a guy whose focus on his penis is, well, fierce. He’s given up drinking (everything but beer); he airs his political views (perhaps surprisingly he’s anti-Trump). He’s eager to share: “who here is fucked up?” He’s moved to pick up a guitar, and have a go.

Meditating, and Larry’s discovery of the feminine principle, will have a startling effect on him. The dramatic moment that his mind is blown actually is actually touching. As the man himself would say “I kid you not.”

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