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Fringe Review: Angels & Aliens

By David Currie on June 20, 2016

60 minutes | Comedy | Mature

“To this minute, I have experienced nothing but disappointment at these plays,” I wrote in a notebook moments before the play began. So melodramatic, so filled with ennui one can only experience with the most ridiculous of First World problems. “This abundance of entertainment doesn’t meet my standards and has failed to change my life or improve my station,” is a dumb, dumb feeling to have.

And then the show opened!

The Hallelujah chorus blasted over the audience and convinced me that George Frideric Handel himself was ridiculing my earlier sentiments and promising greatness. Handel delivered.

Join Sydney and Jeff, two roommates and best friends who have just made a terrible mistake by boning one another the previous night and beginning this bizarre journey into fun. The structure of this play is perfect, the integration of actors into story is a thing to marvel. I usually fear video game depictions on stage, however, the conceit worked and worked very well.

The actors rely on lighting cues to bring the audience along into whatever “world” they are in; be it their now awkward apartment, heaven, or an alien spacecraft. The physical work the two do to connote characters will make you forget Sydney and Jeff are not wearing costumes.

So, not every joke gets a laugh but I promise you – it doesn’t matter. The play is so well built and the jokes that make it work so well that it is hard to imagine something not being forgiven. This is a touching and sensitive play that perfectly balances dark, sexual, and biting humour with whimsy.

Angels & Aliens is a play about negotiation, which brings me to the only real criticism I have. The ending breaks the tone of the play. The whimsy is built up, the alien world and the angel world are turned off and all we need in the audience to leave Sydney and Jeff’s “real world” and leave happily is the promise of continued diplomacy between the characters. We don’t get that. What we get is fine… just tonally jarring.

Angels & Aliens is a good way to spend your money and time. (If you like to be delighted, that is.)

Angels & Aliens, Academic Hall, 133 Séraphin-Marion, Monday, June 20, 6 p.m.; Wednesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 23, 9 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 26, 3 p.m.

Tickets are $12.