REVIEW: Gift of the Gab (Auckland Fringe)

James Cain

Mouthful [by Matt Baker]

James Cain
James Cain

When a friend asked me what Gift of the Gab was about, it took more than a few run-on sentences and backtracking to explain. If you can’t describe a show in one or two sentences at the least, something is wrong with the plot. That’s not to say that the show doesn’t make sense, simply that the narrative could benefit from some addition and omission to create a more logical flow of events even within its absurd concept.

James Cain’s Alan Rickman and Sir Ian McKellen impersonations are very good, not amazing, but enough to carry the show. His choice to portray Jennifer Lawrence, however, is an odd one, considering there is no significant placement, tonal quality, or cadence to her voice. Apparently generic female American will do. The inclusion of excerpts from over 100 films to create a sentient character will entertain any film buff, even if it’s unclear as to what said sentiment character actually is.

Cain does well not to rely on the technological component of the show, utilising the comedic element of it well, although some sequences do begin to wane in the repetition, and while a deus ex machina is perfectly valid, one in keeping with the genre would have been more acceptable. While Cain’s character arc as Gab comes full circle, the lack of stages as identified in the monomyth means that the story itself hasn’t really presented us with a journey.

Gift of the Gab is presented by With Our Powers Combined and plays as part of Auckland Fringe at The Basement until Feb 16. For details see The Basement.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview by Dione Joseph

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