They Call ’em Rogues kicks off what we hope to be a long lasting bromance with the Vancouver International Fringe Festival with a dynamic, big hearted hit, The Best, Man. In this laugh-out-loud and hand-to-mouth-I-can’t-believe-he-said-that face (a box of chocolates will never be the same again), writer Arlen Kristian Tom keeps abreast with today’s quick-paced generation by keeping the play short, sweet, relevant, and includes quips of internet-generated humour. A rather inappropriate ‘that’s what she said’ joke is even executed well in this play!
The hurricane of emotional dilemma starts in the belly of Carasoul Theatre, where stands an unglued groom suffering from cold feet with an escape bag in tow, ready to bolt. The only thing keeping him form abandoning his bride at the alter is the slurring and sweaty, brazen and still drunk from the bachelor party, childhood best friend — his best man.
With the talents of Mack Gordon (You Still Can’t) as the cold footed groom and his best man, John Voth (Godspell, Casino), you are pulled into this entertaining yet intimate moment of insecurity, drunken disasters and recognizing the friend in front of you is the not same person four or five years ago. Mr. Responsible Groom is ready to write off his Mr. Irresponsible Drunk, but the best man isn’t about to blindsided by the groom’s anger that’s misdirected at him. After all, he knows his friend best, and he knows better. Together the two face these bumps on the road and they realize that not only that they need to solve major problem at hand (the groom is having second thoughts for Heaven’s sake!) they also have a lot of catching up to do.
It’s short (only 45 minutes long) but Arlen Kristian Tom wastes no breath, sob, slurred word, or f–bomb (hey, the guy is getting married! “That is f***** up”). He takes great care of what memories to share, what coffee-staining crisis befalls the groom, and what hilarious defense the best man has to raucously offer. Each concise moment reveals a little part of their shared past, and the challenges that many in our generation of 20-somethings face: commitment, responsibilities that come with becoming adults, the falling outs versus the strength of childhood friendships. It’s well thought out, packed, but not suffocating. (If anything, the audience is already feeling rather claustrophobic in the tiny room shared with these big burly actors. You actually feel like a fly on the wall of their hotel room.)
The Best, Man is short, sweet, and hilariously bromantic. Most definitely a feel-good act, but also a warning to those in bridal parties: Stay away from the booze if you don’t want to be swept up in a hurricane. (Especially if it can “haul ass in heels.”)*
- To get this reference, you need to see the show! For tickets and more information, click here