I’m going to be honest: Unbridled Futurism is probably the weirdest show at this year’s Fringe, but its balls-to-the-wall approach to its unusual subject material leads to a satisfying conclusion à la pulpy science fiction.

unbridled_futurism_4_cred._john_breggar
Photo credit to John Breggar

Unbridled Futurism combines original rock music (and one more hip-hop-inspired musical number) with video projections and a surreal plotline in a show that tosses absurdity at you like it’s going out of style. In an alternative reality to our own, Captain Nick Di Gaetano prepares to become the first human to travel at light speed, only to vanish from his own reality in the attempt, becoming doomed to phase in and out of all possible realities as he tries to find the Earth that he left behind. Soon however, he realizes that he has created a monster in Rrasher, the Raccoon King of Great Garbage Land (formerly Garbage Earth), who will hunt him across space and time in order to secure for himself the secret of light speed travel, and conquer the multiverse.

So yeah, it’s a bit out there (how many plays have you seen with opening credits?) in terms of what it’s about, but under closer scrutiny the plot is actually pretty classically constructed. The Captain’s motivation is clear, and the stakes rise to a crisis that is resolved using the logic of the fictional world. You can’t argue that this show makes no sense, because under the surface the plotline is just as complete (if simplistic) as anything Ibsen wrote. Out of nonsense comes logic (go figure).

There is also generous usage of both projection screens, and live musical interludes to break up the action. Original rock songs that are half-comedic, half-serious, and relate space travel to lonely experiences like bad acid trips occur largely in the first half – and Di Gaetano really brings it on guitar and vocals, with an intensity to rival Bright Eyes (but not as depressing). Sound levels are occasionally an issue with having to balance a live mic, guitar and amp, but the energy isn’t lost, even if the words sometimes are. Projections include the opening credits sequence, a dream sequence, and an ad for the new and improved city of Toronto, with a fever-dream-inspired skyline with way too many CN Tower knockoffs. These songs and projections (including a visit from a cat wizard) are tangentially related to the action of the plot at best, but they do help to explore the strange universe created in this show, not unlike the many digressions in the works of Douglas Adams.

Di Gaetano never loses his words or energy, delivering a performance that must leave him exhausted at the end of every show. A special pleasure is Jordan Moffat as the Garbage Earth version of Captain Nick with his overly phallic slang (not vulgar exactly, but hardly family-friendly either) and absurd enthusiasm even in the face of losing the battle to the evil raccoons.

While I can’t really say that this show imparts pearls of wisdom for your day-to-day life, it sure is a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of surreal or absurd theatre, you’re going to have a good time with this one.

Unbridled Futurism

A makesndoes production
Created by Nick di Gaetano and Teddy Ivanova
Performed by Nick Di Gaetano and Jordan Moffat

At Arts Court Theatre (Venue 1)
Running Time 60 minutes

Thursday 15 June 5:30pm
Saturday 17 June 8:00pm
Sunday 18 June 3:00pm

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