Goblin-provocateur “Red Bastard” (Eric Davis) is acclaimed on the Fringe scene for pummeling the boundaries of audience participation, so it was with trepidation that I entered the Yellow Venue and ensconced myself in a hard-to-reach seat.
The “Bastard” knows we fear him, and he plays with that fear. Slowly teasing out the monster, Davis invites us to leave, rubs his hands together and says things like, “Here we go!” The house lights come up and stay up for the rest of the show. The ghoulish id gambols about, gleefully snarling that he will reveal our “liessssssss!” Could my shy self hack this?
I could. And I’m glad I did. Davis asks (like, literally asks) audience members to question modern relationship conventions. Are we swans or dirty ponies? Together we expose past indiscretions, exploring love, sex, cheating and lies. It’s an immersive experience with a true Fringe feel.
Davis moves with a dancer's grace – a comic counterpart to the Bastard’s ponderous physique. His clowning combines movement, verbosity, props and sound with pitch-perfect timing. The jokes land.
Davis' shifts from playing himself to playing the imp break the tension and add gravity. Most of it works a tick, but a well-intentioned dramatic shift at the end ran long and dragged down the momentum. Key moments that rely on audience responses did not always flow, exposing the show’s intended path with slightly clunky work-arounds.
That said, Red Bastard: Lie With Me
is more mastery than mishap. At its heart, Lie
is really about honest connection. It’s not a cozy night out, but I would lie with Davis again. Perhaps I’ll sit a little closer next time.
Red Bastard: Lie With Me
18 & up
9:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 22
10 p.m. Wednesday, May 23
10:45 p.m. Friday, May 25
9 p.m. Saturday, May 26
7 p.m. Sunday, May 27
Check out ALL of our Fringe 2018 reviews at orlandoweekly.com/fringe2018