by Lynn on April 18, 2013

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the Cabaret, Toronto until April 21. Written and directed by Rob Salerno. Designed by Dariusz Korbiel. Lighting by Oz Weaver. Starring: Dylan George, Michael Goldlist, Rob Salerno.

Produced by Ten Foot Pole Theatre.

Big in Germany is about Alex and Bruce, two friends since high school. Alex wants nothing more than to be a rock star, make lots of money and bed all the women who will no doubt be clamouring for his favours. Bruce is his best friend wants nothing more than to love Alex but can’t tell him. So he supports his rock music dreams and they make music together.

While they eke out a living playing small gigs in Toronto they are no stars. Miraculously they get a gig in Germany and become huge stars, hence the title. They’ve made a $ million but come back to Toronto to no fanfare. No one knows them. This does not stop Alex’s big dreams and his huge delusions. At 30 years old Alex is no more mature or smarter than when he was 15. He rents the Air Canada Centre for their concert, thus blowing the million they made. Of course practically no one shows up.

Alex and Bruce’s salvation is that they have a connection to the porn industry. Bruce writes the scripts and Alex stars in them for a porn film company call Ten Foot Pole Productions, headed by a gold-chain-necklace-wearing-vulgar-dynamo named Phil. It’s discovered that not only does Alex have huge delusions but also something else is huge as well. I can’t confirm that as his back was too me when the reveal was made to both Bruce and Phil, whose jaws dropped in amazement. Of course it could be that both Bruce and Phil might be so unendowed that anything not requiring a magnifying glass and tweezers would be impressive—but I digress.

Alex becomes a porn star and wins major acting awards. Bruce is right there with him as the writer of these epics. Bruce wins major writing awards and Phil wins awards for his directing—think Oscars, Gemini Awards etc.

This is the kind of life-shortening theatre experience best left unreviewed. But there have been too many of those of late, and kindness by omission is not helpful to those unsuspecting people who might lay down their cash for the experience. So here’s the review.

Big in Germany is dreadful. The writing is sophomoric, full of leaden, witless frat boy jokes. The characters are cardboard and shallow. They have no depth or even human warmth. The acting fluctuates between declamatory twitchy and winey-pining. The music, written by the cast, is forgettable as are the lyrics if you could make them out, what with the screaming. The direction is no better than that of a bad, inexperienced, traffic cop. Having to sit through the 90 endless minutes of this dreck made cleaning my toilet seem like a holiday. You have been warned.

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