REVIEW: Gametes and Gonads @ Ottawa Fringe 2012

Gametes and Gonads is Jeff Leard’s one-man show, touted as Star Wars meets your genitals, where one actor plays four-hundred million sperm.

Jeff Leard tells you why you should see Gametes and Gonads:

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Gametes and Gonads is the one-man show by Jeff Leard about a squadron of sperm in the testes getting ready for ejaculation so they can take down and destroy the egg, which is described in similar details to being the Death Star. Meanwhile, in the female reproductive system, the Mother Egg helps prepare a sacrificial egg to the “goddess” and prays that it reaches Menstruation before conception.

This play is extremely… out of the box… it’s being promoted as: Star Wars Meets Your Genitals… and it’s pretty much true. And I think that’s what really works about this play. It’s extremely witty. Horribly offensive. Yet to-die-for hilarious. The play is actually so ridiculous that you just want it to keep on going.

Leard has perfect stage timing, and obviously no sense of embarrassment for the sake of his art. He personifies over 400 million sperm and dozens of eggs in his attempt to truly rip apart, deconstruct and then rebuild how entertaining theatre should be. Seriously, if all theatre was this entertaining, I think we would have a lot more Fringe shows with more than 8 – 10 people in some audiences. Leard knows how to work an audience and get them laughing at the simplest of dick jokes, even over coming slight dead space from time to time. This play, from beginning to end, is a solid four.

Kurt’s Followup:

Gametes and Gonads is a crazy, absurd, sci-fi epic detailing the war of the eggs, a sisterhood who must sacrifice one of their own every month to sustain themselves, and the sperm, who must send hundreds of millions of their own to die to destroy the egg and save themselves from destruction. The show draws inspiration from all kinds of science fiction. There are elements of Star Trek, such as the Scottish engineer, and the whole Sisterhood of the Egg is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”.

The show is written and performed by Jeff Leard, who may have been on a caffeine high during the show from how much he was jumping around. Leard plays all of the characters and switches between them on a dime, and then somersaulting over that dime. And I think Leard needs to be commended for the crazy humour of his show and how deftly he can draw it out. The show benefits from some incredibly stilted dialogue that perfectly emulates old school sci-fi. See Gametes and Gonads if you like sci-fi comedy and are not easily grossed out. If you are really grossed out, get over and see it anyway. Tis a four, captain.

- By Kurt Shantz

Matthew Champ

About Matthew Champ

Matthew Champ is the lead reviewer for Production Ottawa's review team, Should You See It, making sure that whether it's local theatre or the latest Hollywood blockbuster to hit theatres, you know whether or not it's worth spending your time or money on.

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