Fringe review: Witts: Ballad of Queer Cowboys

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By Miya Abe

The program synopsis of Witts: Ballad of Queer Cowboys implied that the show would be a hilarious, fun adventure. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny, enjoyable, or exciting about this drab clunker of a play. How could a story about queer outlaws on a revenge quest fail so spectacularly? The answer to this question lies in disjointed dialogue, lifeless performances from most of the leads, a lack of technical elements, and a myriad of other problems.

One of the biggest issues was the fact that it was almost impossible to discern what was happening. Right from the start, the dialogue was often muffled due to the actors speaking too quietly or concealing their speech with poor blocking. They also flubbed several lines throughout. Without any clue what was going on, the ensuing story was just a blurry haze and without feeling emotionally tethered to the plot or characters, nothing mattered to the audience. The actors tried their best and even had some genuinely emotional dialogue, but it was too little, too late. Some audience members actually fell asleep during the show.

A lack of music and sound effects also made this production feel amateurish and negated any suspense or resonance. A tumbleweed blowing through the crowd would have felt appropriate during several completely spiritless scenes. 

Though billed as a comedy, the audience sat in silence for the duration of the show. The biggest laugh was generated when one of the actors accidentally spilled a cup of water on stage, a testament to just how horribly tedious this supposed “comedy” really was.

Without any vibrance or chemistry, the actors slept their way through one of the most boring and jumbled cowboy narratives one could possibly see at the Fringe. This truly was how the West was lost.

Fringe review: Witts: Ballad of Queer Cowboys
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