As the lights in the Artspace Loft Studio dimmed, a (vaguely) familiar orchestra string is heard and a (vaguely) familiar silhouette walks across the stage, turns, and fires his (finger) gun.
His name? Bond…just Bond (lest any Eon Productions reps happen to swing by the Brookland venue). The performer? Robertson, Gavin Robertson. The show? BOND: An Unauthorised Parody.
Courtesy of Robertson and his Lecoq training, we enter into an energetically, minimalistic pantomime romp through the most enduring tropes of the James Bond franchise and other action and spy franchises. On-the-nose music cues, inappropriately named love interests, dopey American alleys, goofy gadgets, a sniveling henchman, and an ominous villain overseeing the action, it’s all there.
The power of this one-man-show lies in its economy and details, rather than depth. Though the satire is light, the skill with which this show is executed is tantamount. Robertson and director Nicholas Collett (there are no credited designers) collaborate to tell the story with marvelous finesse.
The set is comprised of three shockingly versatile door thresholds, lighting a few standard Fringe-issue units bumping and dimming with expert timing, and sound comprised of simple effects and lovely pastiche composition (credit Gerry Rafferty) to set the classic spy thriller mood. Bright also contributes a theme song (what Bond movie would be complete without one?), to which Robertson gamely commits to providing classic dancing girl imagery during the imagined “opening credits”.
BOND: An Unauthorised Parody
by Hope Villanueva and The Crane Fable Project
Directed by Hope Villanueva
Choreography by Tyler Herman
Details and tickets
As a performer, Robertson has incredible discipline. You get the sense, watching him, that he doesn’t waste a move, a gesture, or a word of the script as he bounces from character to character, locale to locale. Never is this clearer or more entertaining than the cursory way through which Roberston’s Bond tangles with a villainous henchman, or the resigned manner in which he commits to depicting a high-speed car chase in his microbudget manner.
For the pop culture-illiterate out there, don’t be daunted by BOND. The references are general enough to give everyone equal opportunity to chuckle, and the craft with which Gavin Robertson plows through the piece is worthy enough on its own to justify adding this to your Fringe pass. Add in some smart design and a fun twist (that is, if you didn’t have it spoiled by the show’s blurb on official Fringe advertisements), and you’ve got a rollicking good time ahead of you in Brookland. Robertson makes a terrific addition to DC’s Fringe programming.
Here’s hoping that, much like his cinematic counterpart, “GAVIN ROBERTSON WILL RETURN…in one of his other one-man spectacles” at a future festival.