Arts » Theater + Dance

Review: Red Bastard

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4.5 stars

IndyFringe, Oct. 27, 28. Dressed in a red jumpsuit stuffed with balloons, New York actor Eric Davis turns into one red bastard for 90 minutes of improvised intimidation, buffoonery and, somehow, warmth. With a better-than-you air, the fat clown who hit it big at the IndyFringe Festival poses like a ballerina on bon bons, a Yellow Submarine cartoon character come to life. He announces that we are in his master theater class — the theater of life — and audience participation is mandatory. Dripping with self-satisfaction, Davis' creation is akin to the acting teacher who tells you outright that you suck and the ballet teacher who tells little girls they are fat, but he is tougher still and much funnier. Wednesday night, he put his balloon butt into at least one theatergoer's face and licked another's ear. From then on, when Red Bastard said "jump," we jumped and when he said "yell," boy did we yell, to avoid his stick and to court his carrot, whatever that might turn out to be. As much sociological experiment as theater, Red Bastard proved to me that people want to be in good with authority figures, even invented ones, or take them down, in this case with heckling that grew braver over the night. Ultimately, the big red man exposed himself, literally and figuratively, as a false guru with one true message about being true to oneself. It was an electric night of ridiculous, meaningful behavior. 721-9458; www.indyfringe.org.

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