Fringe Review: The Boxer – A Silent Movie Onstage
“Cute without being cutesy” is a tough needle to thread, but The Boxer manages it pretty ably. In writer Matt Lyle’s Depression-era romcom (previously staged in Dallas, Chicago and New York), a young woman (Gemma Fearn) poses as a man in order to stay afloat in a brutal economy. The best gig she finds is acting as the trainer to a mousy fighter (Brandon Roberts) who’s about to get slaughtered to help his sick mother.
It’s all done silent-movie style, with the requisite bug eyes, exaggerated gestures, title cards and live accompaniment from an instrumental duo that throws in some wittily anachronistic quotes. (Loved those quick two bars of Pink Floyd.) Every one of the seven performers in the Jester Theater Company’s local production of the play is at least decent at this sort of wordless acting, and some of them are very good. Michele Simms is equally magnetic as a bawdy waitress and a crazed monkey (no, greasy-spoon habitués, they aren’t always the same thing.) But this is unabashedly Roberts’ show, which won’t surprise anyone who’s seen his bravura physical work in similar Fringe outings like Sport and Snack. Once again, you can’t take your eyes off him, whether he’s going for the pathos with his hangdog face or inflicting extreme punishment on his strange little body. (Hooray for the Fringe, when I can finally focus on other people’s “strange little bodies.”) The Jester crew scare up lots of fun making like silent-movie stars, but Roberts might as well be one.
Note: This review is based on a preview performance that the press was invited to attend.
Jester Theater Company (Orlando, FL)
Run Time: 60 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Live Music, Clowning & Mime, Silent Movie
Websites – www.jestertheater.com
Thu, May 16 2013, 7:45 p.m.
Sat, May 18 2013, 11:45 a.m.
Sun, May 19 2013, 8:15 p.m.
Tue, May 21 2013, 6:15 p.m.
Thu, May 23 2013, 7 p.m.
Sat, May 25, 6:15 p.m.
Sun, May 26, 11:15 p.m.