If the nonsensical adventures of a “two-bit, washed-up insurance investigator from Des Moines, Iowa” sounds like a bad idea for a one-man Fringe show, you haven’t met Ryan Gladstone. With or without his 1970s tweed pants and jacket, the Canadian actor is a comedic tornado, at least when combined with the riotous script he co-wrote with Bruce Horak, who also directs this production.
No Tweed Too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery
Monster Theatre – Vancouver, BC, Canada
7 DATES THROUGH MAY 29, 2016
Length: 60 Min
Rating: 18 & Up – Violence, Adult Language
Gladstone flies through the material with unstoppable energy and confidence, doing his own set changes and almost speaking over his own lines, if that’s vocally possible. He masters the mannerisms and dialects of not just his main character (the hard-boiled but clueless Grant Canyon), but a variety of bit players, too.
That the plot makes little sense doesn’t matter. Indeed, that’s just the point, as it’s an absurdist parody of both B-movies and detective novels. That doesn’t stop Canyon from trying to explain his exploits to us – exploits that include trying to solve the murder of one Jane Velvet, escape from inside an endangered snake, find the stolen Bombay Sapphire (the jewel, not the gin) and re-enter the Earth’s orbit without burning up. Yes, really. But, somehow, Gladstone makes it all mesmerizing and surprisingly coherent, in a “murky, confusing kind of way.”
If you wondered what a Fringe comedy would look like performed by the love child of Jack Black and Leslie Nielsen, you’ve found it in No Tweed too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery
. It might just be the tightest, funniest and tweediest offering of this year’s festival.