Review by Charlotte Craig
45 min | Biological Comedy | Mature
Gametes and Gonads features a dysfunctional millions-strong army of sperm gearing up to take on the monthly sacrificial ovum. At times a little over-the-top and overacted, this play might annoy those who don’t like comedy that is silly and fast-paced. However, Jeff Leard, a recent Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Victoria, successfully delivers the physical gags, puns and entendres expected from a play that is set inside the reproductive organs of two unwitting, unnamed lovers.
While Gametes and Gonads is lauded as “Star Wars meets your genitals,” I’d say it’s more like a lesser M*A*S*H with a little more frat-boy humour, scientifically-questionable subject matter, anthropomorphized single cells, and the usual gender duality. The assigned motives of the sperm army are typically macho, with the eggs of Ovaria standing as an enemy of the freedom of Testes. When Leard, in character, repeats the line “We must accept our roles,” it is unclear whether he is knowingly invoking gender roles to subvert or reinforce them.
Leard impressively plays what must be dozens of individual characters, switching between characters and scenes with acrobatic somersaults and leaps across the stage. Leard uses no props or music, and provides his own comical sound effects. He must be in great pulmonary shape – he doesn’t have a chance between speaking, beeping and thrusting to catch his breath if he should lose it. Leard is loud, quick and fluid. As well, he never loses concentration despite the laughter from the audience.
Running for forty-five minutes, Gametes and Gonads would be a great show for anyone who likes their military humour underscored with silliness and sex jokes. Lots and lots of sex jokes.
Gametes and Gonads by Jeff Leard is playing at Venue 3 – Academic Hall (135 Séraphin-Marion Private) on Friday, June 15 at 5:00pm; Saturday, June 16 at 7:00pm; Sunday, June 17 at 9:00pm; Monday, June 18 at 5:00pm; and Saturday, June 23 at 11:00pm. Tickets are $10.