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Billy Nothin'

hello emergency? oh hi mary!

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who would you rather be?

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now, he loves her soooo much!

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where's the body?

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i got a funny feelin' 'bout you...

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fergie is cool

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Billy Nothin' Review!

Voices From the Fringe

                BILLY NOTHIN'  - Billy Nothin' has no right to work nearly as well as it does - and that's one of the sources of it's enormous charm. This is among the most original, entertaining, slickly performed shows you will see at this year's Fringe.
Writer Sean Dixon tells a story that, on its surface, looks hopelessly internalized and morally illustrative. A nerdy big-city easterner named Ben Tilly moves to cowboy country and becomes Billy None, horse trainer and all-round hero. But his former personality catches up with him, so he starts to live two separate lives on the Saddle Up Ranch. Things get so ridiculously complicated from there, I won't go into it, but obviously it's all about resolving conflicts within one's personality.

        The sheer inventiveness - the humour and the beauty - of the writing makes this device work. A character named Molly starts things of with a hilarious game she calls "What If?" "Which would you rather have, she asks an audience member, "just one arm and one leg, or a fully functioning penis in the middle of your forehead?" And Dixon makes up his own rules with exhilarating freedom: his characters all pack cell phones in their holsters and use them both to talk on and as six-shooters. But an equally surprising lyricism is never far away: Billy describes his lost love as "a breeze in a calico dress"; and Melody, the object of his affections, talks about the West, "where the days move at the pace of a lolling cow."

        Theatre SKAM's production matches this lyricism with the low-tech beauty of it's staging. The show takes place outside, which is part of the magic, and, as the cast sang sweet, sweet harmonies standing on dumpsters in front of a western set painted on to an alley wall, I felt seduced by the event and by every one of them. All five actors in this uniformly talented ensemble deliver precise, energetic, creative performances.

        If you've never heard fiddle music in an alleyway on a warm autumn night - or even if you have - claw your way into Billy Nothin'.

- Colin Thomas

Reprinted from the Georgia Straight September 16-22, 1999 edition

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