Saturday, August 14, 2010

FRINGE: Bagabones

Bagacrap. Sorry, that's unduly harsh--Jonathan Nosan's Bagabones is mainly suffering from false advertising. If you omit the charming part, then yes, the first twenty minutes are indeed a "contortionist's charming nightmare," but the next twenty are given over to a static, pseudoscientific lecture--in Japanese, with blurry translations in English, Sanskrit, and French scrolling beneath him. Perhaps you're into that; just know that while he's being metaphoric in his references to "primal spaces," he's being literal when he says there's an "ultimately smashing end" to his show (he breaks a piece of pottery). It's embarrassing--for him--how seriously he takes this "artistic expression": he arrogantly takes his curtain call in slow motion. Despite the artful opening, in which Nosan paces the walls and ceilings of his rotating-cube set, there are no Inception-like layers to back up that empty effect; instead, it turns to cheap magic tricks (three-ball juggling). Cirque du Soleil this is not. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "Just break my bones" and 5 being "Bending it better than Beckham," Bagabones gets a 0.

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