Colleen Joy, Full Circle Photography
SHOW: Circus Legacy
GROUP: David Darwin
ATTENDED: Sat., Sept. 7, 8 p.m., The Funicular Railway Station
CLOSES: Sat., Sept. 21
BRIEF SELF-DESCRIPTION: “May contain strong language or long monologues, and either way your kids don't need to hear it. May contain sword swallowing, fire eating, partial nudity, or hedonistic acts of masturbatory self indulgence (long monologues). Probably a bit of both actually.”
WE THINK: Here’s the thing about sword-swallowers, fire-breathers and all manner of death-defying carnies: We don’t mind watching them do dangerous things, because they’ve gained our confidence first. Not so with David Darwin, who started his Saturday-night show almost 40 minutes late due to apparent technical difficulties, then commenced to drop several balls and pins while juggling, and to hit a pregnant woman in the shoulder during his a knife-throwing act (fortunately, it was a digital projection of the audience member, who was unharmed). So, by the time Darwin lay down on a bed of nails and had an assistant break a cinder block on his stomach, it was tough to watch.
Darwin works as a professional variety entertainer, so Fringe, he informed the audience (who had paid $18 apiece), is his time to experiment. “It’s good for me to scare myself and try something new and exciting,” he explained. At least he was having fun.
There were some moments of brilliance and hilarity, like when Darwin put his legs behind his head and did the Macarena (this bit is like Paris: Everyone should see it once). And — amid the long personal monologues — Darwin displays a lot of technical skill for juggling things, balancing things and spinning things. At one point, he escapes from a straitjacket while writhing on the floor and musing aloud about the challenges of keeping his one-year-old daughter safe and entertained. It’s probably an amazing feat, but, like Circus Legacy as a whole, it’s kind of awkward to watch. By the time Darwin emerges from the straitjacket — sweating through his button-down shirt — you’re not really sure that it was worth the effort.
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