Sky Gilbert is a stalwart in the Hamilton Fringe and in the broader Canadian theatre world. He was the artistic director of one of the most successful theatre companies in the country, Buddies in Bad Times, and is a professor at the University of Guelph. He has consistently offered up very well-written and very well-produced plays within the scant confines of the Hamilton Fringe. Bungalow, in my view, is his best Hamilton Fringe work to date.
The play deals with a theme that is fairly familiar in Gilbert's work, that of gentrification. The 45-minute play revolves around the relationship between two men, who live beside each other in adjoining semi-attached bungalows in the Jamesville area.
Lloyd (Shaun McComb) is a long-time resident in the bungalow, and was there long before gentrification. Keifer (Tim Walker) is newer to Hamilton, and owns a coffee shop in Jamesville. Keifer has a stable life-partner; Lloyd is...semi-attached. Keifer has a nice lawn and a chair; Lloyd has a flipped-over recycling bin and a mickey of whiskey.
The story is quick and funny. You can really feel these two in one of the downtown bungalows that I often pass by and ask myself, who lives there. McComb and Walker give excellent performances, never missing a beat.
Kudos must be given to Gilbert not only as a writer, but also as a director. He brings out the best in two already-gifted actors.
There are moments of explicit sex and violence, as is the case with many of Gilbert's works, so don't bring any children. This tale of how old and new Hamilton talk to each other is best left to young adult and adult audiences. By the way, if McComb or Walker looks familiar, they probably are, seeing as each of them has a number of screen and television credits.
New York might have The Odd Couple, but Hamilton Fringe has Lloyd and Keifer in Bungalow. This is one that shouldn't be missed.
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