*Update at the end of this post
It feels like ages since the Fringe, especially the Winnipeg Fringe, which I have to say may have been my favorite of the three I went to this year. Why my favorite? Not sure really, it had nothing to do with the lack of quality of performances in other places, because both Calgary and Edmonton had such incredible talent. There was a feel about the city itself that I really liked, something older and a little Western that struck me as somewhat comfortable. It had a kind of roughness an underbelly that I could feel, and under bellies always keep a place on its toes, plus there were just some great people who I met there that I didn’t get to see again once we left Winnipeg. People like Jack Dagger, Julia Mackey, Dirk, Geoff Huges, Nancy Kenny and Natasha Jetté, Jimmy Hogg, Martin Dockery and Bryan Coffee: you probably could tell by the title of this blog post that it is about Mr. Bryan Coffee.
I’m not sure what I was watching but it was something Sci-fi, and suddenly Bryan’s show, The Mutant, came to my mind, like little flashes of a camera I was watching various scenes played out by Bryan and I thought, damn that was a really good show, and here it is still playing around in my mind. Like many of the shows at the fringe it was a one person show, one hour long. I believe it was written by Bryan, which most of the shows are written by the performer. If you had to throw it into a category, because we just cannot live without our categories, I’d say it was a comedy but really can we make a new category like, oh say, bittersweet comedy or poignant comedy- how about tragic-comedy, apocolyptic comedy? I really like apocolyptic comedy: “It was crazy man everyone died- it was totally funny.” Yes, I’d throw Bryan’s, The Mutant into all my new marketing strategies, because although it was funny, there were some pretty sad but truthful tellings under all of the miming of the end of the world. That’s right I said it, end of the world. Bryan created a string of short sketches held together by the theme of human destructiveness (what will be funny is if Bryan ever reads this and says, Uh no Adrienna, that wasn’t what my show was about…Hello!) There is no set, no costumes, just the small boxed theatre and Bryan- This is ACTING folks they don’t need all the trimmings all the time. Plus it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to not have to cart stuff around.
In the opening scene Bryan plays a captain of a ship, who is of course dashing daring and debonair as captains are, it is a space ship on another planet, I believe, and there is an approaching invasion, (you’ll have to forgive me because some time has passed) but it all ends in a major shoot out with Bryan as the sound man and the actor creating the violent sounds of laser blasters coming from all sides! It was riveting! I was on the edge of my seat! WHAT next My GOd What NEXT?
What came next was a hilarious restaurant owner that loved to change his ringtone, talk about the tragedies of the planet, and offer cups of coffee. One of my favorite sketches was the release of the bald Eagle from captivity into the wild- Bryan somehow managed to morph his face into that of an eagal- not just any kind of Eagle but a cartoon eagle. This scene brought me right back to Warner Bros.’ early cartoon schticks, like the one of the dog chasing after bugs through the hollow tree trunk (have you actually ever seen a hollow tree trunk?) balanced on the edge of a cliff, and as the dog runs through bugs spins the trunk so the dog is standing on the sky for a second (with out falling mind you) then in a panic he runs back to the tree, but bugs spins the trunk again, and they do this like a thousand times, and it’s always funny. That was Bryan as the eagle getting his revenge a thousand times and it is still funny.
I really enjoyed this show, I am not doing The Mutant or Bryan Coffee justice in this post. He is truly a talented comedian, writer and performer. I would love to attach some links to this post but I wasn’t able to find anything that could give you more info on him, but I believe he is in LA, and if you happen to see his name you should check out one of his shows. If I can dig up more about this great guy I’ll post it here so that you, oh humble audience, can get the opportunity to see some tragic bittersweet not poignant apocalyptic comedy by one man on a stage with no set, and all dressed in white.
*Check out this link to Bryan on The Sound Of Young America