by Vishesh Abeyratne
52 min / Drama, Sci-Fi / Mature
Endlings is a bad Fringe show. Every year there are bad shows and this year Endlings is one of them. This is a dystopian tragedy about the forced breeding of two humans by presumably either aliens or something.
Look, sometimes it’s fun to write a negative review – this isn’t fun. The reason The Handmaid’s Tale is popular is that it knows exactly what it is. Endlings has no idea what kind of show it wants to be. It’s a brooding tragedy with humourlessly delivered zany puns. The script tries to be both a dark tragedy, like the aforementioned popular television series, and a Woody Allen’s Sleeper romp with sex-lube puns about hands and smoothing things out.
The actors in the show make few decisions beyond the one intensity that they will keep throughout the show. For Vishesh Abeyratne’s character Kurt 453, this tone is Marc Anthony “Cry Havoc!” and for Laura Sosnow’s Octavia 345 it’s Dirty Harry “Make My Day.” In addition to this unwavering tonal monotony – the actors don’t seem to know when they are saying sad things and when they are making puns. Two humourless people make about fifteen puns at one another in the first ten minutes and then say sad things in exactly the same tone for the rest. The physical work on the part of both actors verges on Charlie Chaplin level exaggeration.
The set is functionless with one cot supposedly the instrument of choice for two people’s sexual congress and a couple of bobbles. The lighting is used mainly to spotlight actors in out of place unintentionally campy monologues. The script does nothing and every time it answers a question about the universe being presented, it hydras up twenty seven more. There are too many logical inconsistencies to delve into… You know what? I like science fiction. I didn’t like this.
The audience is encouraged to dress up as their favourite cosplay characters for this 52 minute pun-tragedy.
Endlings is playing at The Improv Embassy (176 Rideau St) until Saturday June 17, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info. Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.