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Montreal Fringe Festival: Balls!

Posted by Stefan / June 19, 2008

BALLS-program_version.jpg Go see this show. I know that there are only two performances left and you’re a busy person but that’s no excuse. You’ve probably wasted close to an hour today just refreshing your inbox, and another hour responding to e-mails from people you don’t really like. I mean, if you really can't make it this weekend, you can instead drive down to Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, or Vancouver, as all these cities will be featuring Balls! at some point this summer. Or you can do the sensible thing and take in a charming and emotionally charged play about testicles right in your own backyard.

You may be asking yourself why a play called Balls! should register a blip on your (carefully monitored for requisite sophistication) radar. Well, it’s about testicles the way Moby Dick (har har har) is about a whale. The play centres around an idyllic friendship which is suddenly faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of testicular cancer. Exploring masculinity, competition, spirituality, and the amazingly complex set of emotions which accompany an ill-timed injection of mortality into an otherwise august existence, it’s also a modest glossary of niche-market pornography.

A trustworthy friend once opined that Adam Goldhamer (who plays Bastian) is only a break away from the Big Time. Although I have no idea what that actually means, I’ll second that he’s a very talented actor. Writer/director/actor Rob Salerno (who plays Paul), not typically known for his gravitas, is responsible for the play’s subversive humour which nonetheless demonstrates an underlying and deliberate maturity. The affable pair’s combined experience makes itself known. The script never drags, the characters are believable, and a nice attention to detail keeps things tight.

Despite the lighthearted pale cast by it’s title, Balls! has little of the slapstick about it. While the dialogue sometimes sounds like a bus ride next to two sexually frustrated adolescents, it is never gratuitous and only adds to the emotional complexity of the play. Goldhamer and Salerno do a marvelous job of driving home the simple yet heart wrenching notion that their characters are much too alive to be dealing with the prospect of death.

Playing at the Portuguese Association of Canada (Venue 7)
4170 St Urbain

$9 + $2
60 minutes

20 June @ 20:45
21 June @ 21:15

Press photos by Jenna Wakani.



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