Banned in the USA is a production by Gerard Harris of That's Enough Drama of Montreal Quebec. Harris is actually very much a Brit who relocated to Canada in about 2012 and Banned in the USA is the true tale of his exploits in Canada with a bit of early biographical information.
I was looking forward to this show based on the reviews and flyer info although I wasn't sure what to expect. One reviewer from another Fringe Festival panned it and others thought it hilarious. All agreed his delivery is frenetic and he should not be allowed near any caffeinated products.
I was actually disappointed. Harris is more of a sit down comic than an actor. The venue was minimalist providing only about 25 or 40 seats and a tiny stage. Harris sat in the small chair in the centre for most of his performance. There were no lighting or costumes. Just Harris and black curtains marking a tiny proscenium-like area for his performance.
It seemed that he hadn't done this show for some time and he did occasionally stumble over lines. Based on reviews from other performances he ad libs so the story can vary somewhat from show to show. At about the 45 minute mark he ask the audience what the time was so he could judge how to wrap up the story - which was long and winding. There was a segue from the main thread that took us to an Irish Murder Mystery wherein he played a part, That segment didn't seem to bear any relation to the main story line as he dropped in that bit without tying it back. A number of audience members left before the end.
Harris is entertaining and some people seemed to enjoy the show but I left feeling unmoved. I can't really recommend it . I wish I could.
Banned in the USA by That's Enough Drama is playing at Arts Umbrella 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Evelyn McKelvie
Click "read more" for the full video transcript.
Welcome theatre addicts. I'm Evelyn [McKelvey 00:00:04] and I'm going to be reviewing Banned In the U.S.A here at the.... this is bring your own venue, so it's playing here at Arts Umbrella, down on [Granville 00:00:15] Island. And I'm reviewing it for the 2018 Fringe Festival. I'm looking forward to this one it's a comedy, one man show, and it's a story about border crossing and espionage and things like that. So, I'll see you on the other side.
I just came out of Banned in the U.S.A. A one man show put on by Gerard Harris, who most recently claims to be from Montreal. Originally a Brit and tells a story, a highly personal story about his exploits leaving the U.K., ending up in Canada, working for the State Department in the U.S. and making trips around the world. It's an entertaining hour. He is very phrenetic as he's described in the advertisements. Sometimes just racing on, sometimes hard to understand what he's saying, but generally very, very humorous.
The story takes a bit of a diversion at some point and he includes a little section on Ireland. A stint in Ireland doing an Irish murder mystery at a little pub somewhere. I don't know why he put that into the show, because it sort of comes out of nowhere and it doesn't resolve. So it doesn't have anything to do with the main theme. It seems like a bit of a filler. But anyway, if you do like one man shows, if you do like that kind of ... it's more almost like sit down comedy more than theatre, you might enjoy this. If you want a little more action, if you don't like swearing, then you might want to try something else. I kind of liked it, but I would have given it one thumb up out of two.
So thanks very much. It's Evelyn McKelvey coming to you from Granville Island, the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Please do give us your comments. You can do them below this review and check out the other reviews on the website. Check out our You Tube channel and come on down and see some shows.
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