At first, my second show of the first day of Fringe was more of a way to distract me from the fact that my stage debut was only a few hours away. Which, I suppose, meant I needed one Hell of a distraction. Enter RED BASTARD at Studio Leonard Beaulne.
A fairly celebrated (he got a positive nod from the NY Times, I’m calling him celebrated) piece of hardcore Bouffon Theatre, Eric Davis’ outrageous, fire-red and pear-shaped character dances provocatively onto the sparse stage, a cruel, knowing sneer on painted lips. If you caught the antics of LOVEBUG LOUIE at last year’s festival, you have an idea of what to expect from a bouffon style show, and Red Bastard doesn’t afford you the luxury of having your gruesome host safely tucked away up high on an elaborate stage. This madman gets in your face, and often VERY literally. Fair warning, the audience gets plenty interacted with at this one…it ain’t always pretty, and it can get mighty uncomfortable even. But it’s always honest.
A clearly skilled performer, Davis as the Bastard is a treat to watch..Hell, sometimes I was impressed at just how he managed to stay upright in that ballooning action-suit of his. Stage presence like his doesn’t come along so often, and his masterful, razor-sharp barbs to the audience sometimes sting like a real wound. But lest I scare you off, there’s a shit-ton of laughs in this production too, which takes the edge off the way he slowly, sneakily peels away some of our collective layers to expose the weakness and frailty beneath. This is what Bouffon does, and this show does it very well. Not for everyone, although everyone just might need it. Check out a world class performer at RED BASTARD at Studio Leonard Beaulne while you still can! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)