Fringe favorite Martin Dockery is back, and if you’re a fan of his work, The Surprise certainly doesn’t disappoint. I feel the need to start this review off by mentioning how much I loved The Bike Trip, though if you’ve found in the past that this style is not for you, you will not like this show. I, however, don’t know why anyone wouldn’t like this style. It is storytelling at its finest: engaging, funny, poignant and interesting to watch as well as listen to, Dockery is a master at drawing the audience into his mind to perceive the world the way he does.
The Surprise tells the story leading up to and during a trip that Dockery and his girlfriend take to visit Dockery’s father, who lives in Vietnam, after it is discovered that Dockery’s father has divorced his mother and fathered three and a half-year old twins with his Vietnamese girlfriend. All of this is told over the underlying story of Dockery and his girlfriend deciding whether they should have children themselves.
I don’t think I can complement this show enough. It was well written, paced, timed, and this all chalks down to Dockery’s general dedication to the work he does – which he does so well. As someone who leans away from one man shows, this is perhaps my only exception. His writing works perfectly with his performance style, as he’ll casually introduce ideas and then bring them back to mean something serious, or make you think deeply into his suggestions. As a performer, he uses the full range of his voice and body while barely moving to draw you in visually. He expresses himself with his hands in a way that I’ve never seen anyone else do – it makes watching him sit in a chair fascinating. His voice also ranges from scratchy to deep and booming, and will do this quickly and frequently.
This show will make you laugh, think, and possibly cry. Again, I can’t compliment it enough.
Written and performed by Martin Dockery
Playing in ODD