Martin Dockery (creator of past Fringe hits Wanderlust, The Bike Trip, and The Holy Land Experience) begins his latest monologue Bursting Into Flames by barging onstage with blazing excitement in his eyes and a bottle of wine in his hand. His previous performances have been exemplars of off-kilter exuberance, but this time he takes surrealism to a whole new extreme. You see, Dockery has died and gone to heaven, and he's here to tell us what a groovy place the afterlife is.
According to Dockery, the English language lacks the "superlatives and modifiers" to describe heaven, so his improbably long limbs with eternally gesturing hands will have to help tell the tale. Heaven, he claims, is exactly like your life but even better: Toe socks and white jeans are always in style, you can eat as much dessert as you like without gaining weight, and every evening ends in a hot tub party as you and your pals soak in a "warm broth of friendship." You can even have a girlfriend in heaven (though you can't have sex) and a wine closet (though you can't get drunk). All you really need in heaven is a good story about how you died. Sure, forever turns out to be an awfully long time. But it's better than being stuck in hell with your spine melting like a candle and hair crackling like kindling. Right?
Dockery never seems to pause long enough to take a deep breath and peppers his ceaseless patter with pieces of peculiar philosophy: The secret to being a good person is just to love; you can't outrun time even when you have a never-ending amount of it; you can cough your way to the moon if you have a big enough bag of weed. In the end, there's an intriguing (if not entirely unexpected) Twilight Zone-esque twist, but as Dockery says, "Storytelling isn't about the details, it's about the vibe in the room." I can't claim I understand all of what Dockery does on stage, but do I know that if there is an afterlife, I hope I can hang out there with him.
Martin Dockery & Concrete Drops - London, ON
Thursday 17 May; at 11:45pm in the Pink
Saturday 19 May; at 6:15pm in the Pink
Sunday 20 May; at 8:15pm in the Pink
Tuesday 22 May; at 11:00pm in the Pink
Thursday 24 May; at 8:00pm in the Pink
Friday 25 May; at 10:00pm in the Pink
Saturday 26 May; at 2:30pm in the Pink
Price: $11 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)