The ancient world’s saddest joke, Orpheus, is back to perform his tale again for the demanding audience of Greek gods and goddesses. In a mix of stand-up comedy and desperation, Orpheus recalls a modern London meeting of his oak nymph wife, Eurydice, scrolls through a list of their life – from the mundane to the adorable – and finally her death and his mistake. Making the audience the gods of myth, Orpheus drink and eats his way through despair and the realization that no matter how powerful his music is, he is not a god.
Martin Bonger plays Orpheus (and the voices of a variety of mythic characters) in this one-man play. The play is a delicately crafted roller coaster, with humor and cleverness woven into a tale of desperation and grief. It is a talented actor who can make you laugh and fall in love while reeking of manic grief and chomping a doughnut. He even makes insight into Eurydice’s emotions, words and death believable – quite a feat for a greasy haired man bulging out of his button down shirt to convincingly play an oak nymph with a delicate British accent. The naturalness and stuttering plays into his character and Bonger truly owns the words he wrote. Skillfully designed lighting and sound support the creation of this world, which is apt considering Orpheus’s reputation with music. The rhythmic beating of a heart sliding into instrumentals expose a bit of Orpheus’ mythic music and the pounding lighting brings the underworld to life, ironically enough. Drawing the audience into the world of the gods, Fat Man is funny, immersive and surprisingly emotional. Just be sure to brush up on your Greek mythology before you go.