Fringe review: ‘My Monster’

My Monster, Clockwork Hobo, Orlando. Blue venue, 55 minutes, $9. (The show actually runs about 45 minutes.)

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Will Hagaman and Philip Nolen in 'My Monster'

Is there anything funnier than watching a pompous man brought down?

Maybe not — not if you’ve seen My Monster, in which Philip Nolen’s vainglorious lecturer/successful screenwriter/self-appointed God is given his comeuppance by a blank-faced character of his own devising.

That blank-faced, wide-eyed character, who eventually goes by the name Spike Flambeau, is played by Will Hagaman, and he’s every bit as important to director Meghan Moroney’s hilarious production as Nolen’s sputtering blowhard. But you can credit the wildly resourceful Nolen for finding pathos in the air-quoting screenwriter just as you cheer for Hagaman’s righteous Flambeau to win their battle of wills.

Written by Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theater 3000) and Joseph Scrimshaw (a prolific veteran of the Minnesota Fringe), My Monster is, of course, a variation of the Frankenstein story, a tale of a Hollywood screenwriter who’s giving a lecture on screenwriting and creates a character to illustrate his points.

That the over-impressed-with-himself screenwriter makes the character also a screenwriter — but a paid assassin at night — shows you that this story is going to get more and more ridiculous. And Moroney and her two wonderful actors milk the situation for all it’s worth.

It’s a pleasure to watch Hagaman’s eager-to-please Flambeau, as requested, slump his shoulders forward to indicate doubt and then to watch him grow triumphantly into his own man. And it’s a double pleasure to watch Nolen’s unctuous screenwriter tumble into the abyss — working himself up into fits of rage, throwing himself to the floor to display a ninja move. Kudos to Moroney for digging up a side-splitting script. And kudos to the whole company for making My Monster sing.

Remaining shows:
Thursday May 26, 11:55 p.m.
Friday May 27, 8:35 p.m.
Sunday May 29, 2:45 p.m.
Monday May 30, 2:30 p.m. (Patrons’ Pick performance)

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