Adelaide Fringe

American Poodle – Adelaide Fringe 2011

Presented by Centre for International Theatre
Reviewed Saturday 26 February 2011

Venue: Royalty Theatre, 65 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: Season ended
Duration: 80 mins

Guy Masterson reprised his celebrated comedy American Poodle for two shows only amongst the ten productions he has brought to the Fringe under the banner of the Centre for International Theatre.

The play comprises two monologues examining US-UK relations in old times and new. In the first of these, Snowball, written by Masterson, he presents the colonisation and eventual independence of America. With witty asides, crazed interpretations, and a whole lot of tongue-in-cheek bitterness, it’s the history of America told by a mad Brit.

As a character actor, Masterson is masterful at delineating each character and finding the right balance between his subjective storytelling and the truth. Unfortunately, he’s a little too frantic, rushing the dialogue and tripping over his own tongue regularly.

The second half is much better. Splayfoot, written by Brian Parks, is performed once again by Masterson. The comedy is sharper, the final twist is nastier, and the dialogue is delivered at a reasonable pace. It follows a modern day American making his first trip the UK for a business deal. His rose-tinted view of quaint old Britain and the audacity of his ignorance make for a deliciously fitting conclusion.

For any actor, this lengthy one-actor show is a challenge, but overall, Masterson pulls it off, although perhaps not as successfully as its previous airings which earned five star reviews. With the short season now concluded, many fans of Masterson may have missed its run, and it remains to be seen if it makes yet another appearance at a future Fringe.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.

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