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Fringe Review: GARY

By Mer Weinhold on June 23, 2016

60 minutes |Comedy, Drama | Mature

GARY defies description for a number of reasons. To give away too much of the plot would diminish the experience, for one thing. Explaining every detail of what happens would take nearly as long as the show itself — there’s a lot going on in just an hour, on a few different levels.

In brief, Mel’s uncle Gary has recently died. She, her boyfriend Shawn, and their friend Gregg are cleaning out the house, during which they talk about topics ranging from death to sex to sandwiches to Hawaiian shirts. Everyone learns something about themselves and each other through the conversation, and then things take an unexpected turn.

The dialogue is stunningly wonderful in its simplicity. The characters reveal everything the audience needs to know a little bit at a time in an utterly natural manner. It feels like an overheard conversation between old friends rather than anything scripted.

Those who are faint of heart, asexual in orientation, or accompanied by family members may want to skip this one. Although everyone is fully-to-mostly clothed for the duration of the play, GARY contains some of the more graphic sexual content I’ve seen in any theatre production.

I dearly loved the show, and could go on at great length about it. To wrap up, while the fundamental message of the play is a classic and commonly expressed one — seize the day, take a chance, no regrets, YOLO — it’s arrived at gradually and unobtrusively. GARY is a funny, honest, and earthy exploration of new experiences shared with loved ones, and of marking a death by celebrating life.


GARY, BYOV A – The Courtroom in Arts Court (at 2 Daly), Wednesday, June 23, at 10 p.m.; Thursday, June 24, 8:30 p.m.; Friday, June 25, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 26, 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12.