Best of Fringe. SF Fringe Festival 2012
“Must see,” -Rob Avila, SF Bay Guardian, 9/12/12
John Marcher, A Beast In The Jungle, writes:
Watching these mutant, foul-looking offspring who looked like they were conceived during a gang bang involving an alien from Bad Taste, the Michelin Man, Brundlefly and Susan Lowe stride down the hallway of the Exit Theatre complex before the show was disturbing enough. One grotesquely fat, the other sickeningly thin, they looked like human maggots more than anything else. The safest place to sit seemed to be toward the rear, but even that felt suspect, and my suspicions turned out to be true. The audience had an expectant air in it, no doubt fueled by provocative reviews posted on the SF Fringe site from the first show, and of course there’s that title, an accusation leveled at anyone present.
They came in with his corpse, abusing it in the most offensive, base manner imaginable, even beyond what I could conjure up in my most venal revenge fantasies. Using their phalluses as weapons, they taunted the dead Danish Prince without mercy. Certainly I nor anyone in the audience had anything to do with this. Or did we?
Naked Empire Bouffon Compay deliver the goods in unexpected ways in You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At A Play. It’s vile and provocative, but it’s also a very sly, smart commentary on a culture busily amusing itself as it slides off this mortal coil, too afraid to talk about serious things, and too busy dumbing itself down. You Killed Hamlet, we all kill Hamlet, every time we click on that link to see what the latest false celebrity did to end up on what’s called news, when we spend more time on Facebook than with a book, and when we accept the fact that we live in a culture where the words artand intellectual (and their synonyms) are combined into pejoratives. Natty Justiniano and Ross Travis know this, and aren’t afraid to rub your face in your own complicity in this shitty state of affairs- but you probably don’t want to talk about it.
Rebecca on September 5, 2012 at 10:02 am said:
These guys are both terrifying and vile and I can’t get enough of their weird protuberances. I probably should have run screaming from the theater, but I didn’t, because I was afraid one of the freaky mutant performer-creatures would follow me and mock me until I cried. And besides, I wanted more. Am I weak? Squeamish? A glutton for punishment? If I’m anything like this show, all of the above.
Nikolas on September 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm said:
Like rotting corpses in thespian tights, these bouffons made me sick! Playing out the dark perversions of some horrible psyche, they embarrassed themselves, the audience, Hamlet, and the world – for their (our?) eternal amusement. What did I just watch?? They left me no choice but to scrub my soul clean and to swear off questions of mortality forever!
Dan griffiths on September 9, 2012 at 12:21 am said:
This is the first time I can remember NOT BEING BORED in the theatre. These bouffon freaks make me sick but I was too busy choking on my vomit filled laughter to care. They have huge dicks and they use them to defile all of HAMLETS dirty holes. WATCH OUT you might be next in line for some debauched thought provoking theatre.
Lucas Brown on September 9, 2012 at 10:07 am said:
My face is still in a rictus. This entire morning I’ve tried massaging it away, but the residual effects of ‘You Killed Hamlet’s’ morbid titillation continues. To be frank, I learned life lessons last night, lessons my mother and father didn’t have the courage to teach me, perhaps they too deserve the same fate as Hamlet—a hard cock in their mouths, public abasement, and so forth. Those bouffons are on to something, or simply on something, and we should heed their battle cries of ecstasy.
Genie on September 9, 2012 at 11:00 am said:
I literally threw up half way through this show. In fact, I don’t think anyone can get through this entire show without throwing up. The theater reeked of vomit by the end. And to make it worse, they started sliding around in the gallons of vomit as if they were children ice skating, laughing maniacally, and making barf angels. I highly recommend the experience, but bring some pepto.
L on September 9, 2012 at 11:41 am said:
If you like sitting anonymously in the safety of a dark theater, don’t even think of going to this show. Expect a lights on, in-your-face, highly physical, raunchy, hour of debauchery. An irreverent ans well curated stream of filth, sex, death, disease, and truth with a side of sobbing, humping, and total wtf. You will not be bored, not for a second.
Jaron on September 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm said:
Fantastic, horrific, wonderful, traumatic, brilliant, grotesque and so much more. Go see this show. Why? Take a look at the other reviews. Have you ever seen reviews like this before? That is because few people are brave enough to do theatre like this and fewer are skilled enough to do it well.
Helicopter- Mom on September 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm said:
Wap-wap-wap-wap-wap…..Reminds me of those wap-wap-wap-wap sounds that the highway patrol helicopters make every time they give chase but no, in this case, it is the debased and ridiculed Heli-Mom wap-wap-wap-wapping her way to the San Francisco Fringe Festival reviews of “You Killed Hamlet” and what does she read? This can’t be her beloved son dressed in nothing but tights and giant body part morbidly titillating and causing rictus whatever that is. H-M will have to look it up. Can this be the same sweet little boy she repeatedly encouraged NOT to be the bouffon in the back of the classroom? My baby, the fruit of my loins,who constantly and with glee distracted and disturbed classmates and teachers……until they cried?
Sweetie Pie, kudos for hanging in there and not listening to H-M.
Ps Thank you, Honey, for protecting your knees. Wap-wap-wap
n k on September 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm said:
WTF did I just see? My mind has blown (like someone opened my skull and put a grenade in my dome). I know a couple guys who will clean it up – maybe even have sex with the fragments of my cerebral cortex. Go see You Killed Hamlet — if you’ve got the guts!
matty on September 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm said:
9/10 Wow, I’m still thinking about this the day after and I may just need to go back as I laughed so much I am sure that I have missed some of the jokes, and with it being partially improv it will be another great experience. Not for all but if you have a dark side it is an absolute must.
Eileen on September 10, 2012 at 12:37 am said:
To be or not to be uncomfortable? Uncomfortable. I hated being there, but I find that over a day later I can’t stop thinking or talking about the show or the metaphors. Such courageous performers. An evening that will freak you out.
Kevin Singer on September 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm said:
I was just about to start a rehearsal for a post-podern, post-post-it, puppet production of Hamlet when these two bastards raped and murdered him with their buoffonery. I have never been so traumatized by clown-work in my life. Damn you Naked Empire! Damn you straight to hell!!
Erin Stuart on September 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm said:
The vile and playful characters at the center of this “Hamlet” somehow managed to steal my heart… then they defiled it in ways too terrible to speak of. Then I’m pretty sure they ate it. And then I died.
Frieda on September 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm said:
It is rare that a theatre piece so poignant, explosive, and obscene comes along. I count myself among the lucky who witnessed such art. I was moved beyond compare. I laughed, I cried, I peed in my pants. I’ve never seen humanity portrayed so multi-faceted and with such depth. The solo piece will forever be etched in my brain. They thrust into the very loins of Hamlet and wrenched out as much pathos as two men can conjure. It brought forth my own tortured and dysfunctional relationship with Hamlet and finally laid it to rest. What else can I say but the rest is silence.
Shane Rhoades on September 13, 2012 at 10:01 am said:
20 inch penises, Necrophilia, Hamlet getting tortured, what more can you ask for? This show is Vile, Bizarre, yet engaging and hilarious at the same time. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach it, it’s worth checking out
Maria on September 13, 2012 at 10:52 am said:
As a somewhat timid person, the idea of this show made me nervous – what would they do? Anything could happen… Would they make me cry? I don’t want to cry at the theatre, do I? Ew. But in the end my curiosity won out and I became one of the guilty creatures sitting at this play. And I’m so glad I was. I don’t think I can verbalize the experience – maybe delicious discomfort? We live in such a politically correct time and place, so it was a real treat to laugh at incredibly inappropriate things – that’s the delicious part. The discomfort part is that a lot of the laughing I was doing ended up pointing the finger at my own behavior. Definitely worth checking out – you won’t be bored and you won’t forget this show..
JJ on September 13, 2012 at 11:02 am said:
BRILLIANT. The most engaging piece of theatre I have seen in my entire life. These two performers are true masters of their craft: physically adept and totally present with their audience. I felt like I was watching a shark attack. Absolutely thrilling.
How did they manage to deal with all these complex themes that in another group’s hands would have left me all alienated and cerebral and checking my watch? They made me viscerally feel everything they were asking questions about.
And they were so BRAVE.
They took the entire room to another place. It felt like anything could happen and I was willing to go on this journey with them (I will warn you, it’s not an easy journey… this is definitely confrontational shit) because they are totally professional. They spent a lot of time and energy making this experience what it is. Through all the irreverence of the show, I felt like they were taking my commitment as an audience member seriously and delivering. A truly generous performance.
Paoli Lacy on September 13, 2012 at 11:56 am said:
Ross Travis and Natty Justiniano are wonderful performers exploring the Bouffon Form and making it relevant to all of us. Using Hamlet as a kick off point these 2 odd balls, creeps, deformed, demented,and sorrid characters look at life, death, sex, pride and , and even a little theatrical tradition, playing with the audience and their various proturberances with great glee. You will not see anything else like this–go see it.
leonard pitt on September 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm said:
Crazy, whacky, nutsola, over the top, off the deep end, and beyond an edge I never knew existed . Aside from that it wasn’t bad.
Megan Finlay on September 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm said:
This show is great. It really explores edges and pushes buttons. I loved being in the audience and feeling like part of a group who were sometimes reacting together and sometimes having really varied and individual responses to the show. Part of the time safe in the ‘audience family’ and part of the time looking for someone else to throw under the bus, never quite knowing what would come next.
It is not to be missed, that’s for sure.
devious on September 14, 2012 at 3:11 am said:
If you see only one show at this year’s Fringe festival, this should be it. These actors would knock out their own teeth to entertain you. You Killed Hamlet has a more prominent display of penises than that other Fringe show about circumcision. Footage of bloody genital surgery isn’t as disturbing as the buffoons’ mockery.
amy on September 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm said:
Such a serious topic. And never have I ever seen it done with such dignity, and poignance, and perspicaciousness.
I was moved, moved to tears with their sincerity, and refined ettiquette at approaching such a delicate subject.
They approached me as an audience member, and were quiet and feeling, sensitive and gentle to my sensibilities throughout the whole performance.
Such subtlety I have not seen in some time.
And the utter perfection of the male form, would that they had been nude.
John Dobleman on September 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm said:
I saw 16 performances this year, some were OK, some were “Fringy”, some were just great performances, but this was so over the top, so pushing at “Beyond the Fringe” that it definitely gets my vote for Best of Fringe. Needs to be offered again.
Steve on September 15, 2012 at 7:47 am said:
Like sentinels on the periphery of hell, these two cracked open the gates and what do you know, it’s funny in there! I didn’t anticipate such lightness and laughter looking in, but there you go. See it! Hamlet will never be so dour again!
Loe Matley on September 15, 2012 at 10:58 am said:
Never have I been surrounded by so much death and felt the overwhelming desire to laugh. Every inch of my skin was tickled with the uncomfortable crudeness ambassadors Nathaniel Justiniano and Ross Travis represented but simply shoving this gruesome reality in our faces. Thank you for bringing me closer with death and I do hope that Hamlet rests well.
A & H on September 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm said:
I feel like I’ve been hit by a car. No, that doesn’t begin to describe how I feel: utterly exhausted, yet invigorated, embarrassed, but empowered, disgusted, yet somehow, turned on…
I feel like I’ve been hit by a whale penis…multiple times. I want to cry. I can’t stop giggling. How Absurd!
Filled with play and subtlety and unafraid to broach ANY subject, these bouffons turn the mirror on the audience, forcing them to swallow the truth about death, society, and their own dirty little secrets. Prepare yourself for poop, vomit, semen, farts, abnormally large penises, theatrical references you may or may not get, and many different sexual positions. Have fun!
Julie on September 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm said:
Wow…Wow… You think you are just being assaulted by heinously grotesque creatures with humor that makes you both cringe and laugh at its horrible truth, but there is a method in the madness. These creatures use their bodies in all manor of nasty ways so that you will feel and think in ways you might not even want to. We are all to blame for the death of Hamlet, but these amazing and versatile performers kick, punch, rub, squish, hump, piss, and violate the life back into theatre! IT’S ALIVE!!!!!!!
Adam on September 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm said:
Amazing show, two of the gutsiest, fully-realized and profane performances I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss this!
Sam on September 16, 2012 at 12:41 am said:
Have you ever wondered what two grown men, bodies distorted grotesquely by stuffing, costumed in webbing evocative of hardcore porn actresses, fiercely humping a stuffed dummy with a Halloween mask for a head with limp prosthetic penises might look like before you created your own mental image while reading this sentence?
Are a politically-conscious, sensitive, creative, forward-thinking individual who enjoys satirical papers like the Onion and is so emotionally crippled that you can’t begin to connect with other people before defending yourself from them with your own patented sense of deep irony?
Are you, like, totally a theatre person?
You should probably just go ahead and drop 10 bucks on this show. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself being ridiculed by a sweaty guy because of the kind of shirt you’re wearing. If you’re lucky.
Pamela Rand on September 16, 2012 at 1:38 am said:
A one hour romp through the grotesque, the irreverent, the absurd, the poignant and beyond — then back again. Go see Ross and Nattie in “You Killed Hamlet …” wildly imaginative superb buffoons! They’ll take you on an unforgettable roller coaster ride on the Fringe, so buckle up!
Donatien Alphonse Francoise de Sade on September 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm said:
For sensitive souls who have discovered that the so-called peace and quiet craved by course plebeians is a terrifying cave that gives birth to the monstrous beating of their own hearts and the thunderous whispers of their own breath, I cannot recommend too highly the light entertainment offered by “You Killed Hamlet.” Never in my thirteen peaceful years at the Charenton asylum have I experienced such tranquility.
simmian42 on September 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm said:
I had large overstuffed buttocks pressed against me. The bad part was I LIKED it…