That Play is Bolloxed

I like going to see things cold. I’m dropped into a room and voila the event starts. When I did a lot of movie reviews, most of them went like this. My wife caught word of this play coming to the Fringe play, called Bolloxed. We decided to go. I had a busy week and I didn’t have a chance to look up what this play was about.

So, we sit down in this dimly lit room. If you’ve been to a Fringe play, you know what they’re all about, impromptu locations and Spartan sets. Our Fringe play was held in a private school auditorium. Out comes a guy that looks like an IT guy—kind of hip clothes, kind of lousy physique and he’s itching his balls. It’s quickly revealed that this play is all about the balls, namely our protagonist, Jack, and his aching balls. What’s wrong with them? Could it be cancer? Could it be something even worse? A play about genitals (e.g. Vagina Monologues) is a ticket to low-ball humor (no pun intended) and squeamish introspection. Correction: that’s the case with a play done wrong. Bolloxed is above that ilk. Jack is a programmer from Canada working in Dublin. He meets an Irish girl, Aoife, who is attracted to and suspect of Americans—er, Canadians (we all look alike). From Jack’s perspective we get juxtaposition on Ireland and Irish people vs. life in Canada. From Aoife’s view we get some nifty insights on Canadians and their culture: Beachcombers, hockey and our icy hinterland. Throughout the hatchling relationship, Jack’s problem with his balls persists: a fierce pain and the worry over what it could be. A problem like that can hit you where you live and make intimate encounters… complicated.

This play is witty and smart. Playwright, Darren Barefoot, has a crafted a very tight piece with almost no lags or dud lines. The Fringe sometimes plays host to experimental material and it’s important to note that Bolloxed is ready for prime time. Through the deft use of lighting, sound effects and a few props, the missing scenery is well implied. The actor playing Jack, Paul Drexler, holds his role throughout. Mercedes Dunphy plays Aoife as well as all of the other supporting roles—a lazy eyed doctor, a Bulgarian programmer and other roles. Drexler is excellent as but then he has a simpler job: one role, he gets all of the laughs and he’s has an attachment to the material (hey, I’m attached to my sack, every guy is). Dunphy is good, but the juggling of roles and the accent makes her performance a little diluted.

Bolloxed is playing throughout the Victoria Fringe then moving over to the Vancouver Fringe.

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Darren said…
Thanks for coming, and for having such kind things to say.

If you're so inclined, please post your review to The Craig:

It's the audience review site for the Victoria Fringe. It's a forum, which is kind of hokey, but I'd appreciate it.

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