Fringe review: Border Breakdown

2.5

A satirical play that pokes fun at Canadian border security, national values, and airports may sound like a good idea—but sometimes pointed political commentary just falls flat. Border Breakdown has all of the right ingredients for an absurdist comedic romp—pretty good actors and a nice stage design—but the script could really use some work. 

Our story begins with a young male German traveller looking to bum around Canada for a year only to be confronted by two Canadian border security guards. One is a fiery Quebecois lady who is flabbergasted our German friend doesn’t speak French and the other is a polite and docile man. Oh, and there’s also an animatronic beaver because of … reasons. While the two border security guards hammer out every Canadian stereotype, the German becomes increasingly anxious and angered. A few minutes go by and one of the security guards asks the traveller if he is a drug dealer. His answer then paves the way for backstory that, shoehorned in, goes a little too far. I think the biggest problem with Border Breakdown is that it’s not convincing. 

Strange and ludicrous things can happen in theatre, but you have to make the audience believe they can happen. If you just inject characters in halfway through the performance and then catapult them out, it can leave the audience confused and somewhat bored. 
There are some good lines and bits to this performance, but as a whole, it kind of feels like a bad, drawn-out SNL sketch.

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