Reviewed by Andrew Snowdon
70 min / Storytelling / PG
Martin Dockery was a 35-year-old long-term temporary employee of the New York Stock Exchange when he decided to quit his job and leave Brooklyn to take a five-month journey across West Africa. His plan? Oh, you don’t know Martin Dockery. For a man who takes every random turn as a potentially life-changing learning experience, a plan would be counterproductive. He set off on his journey with the intention to take things as they came, waiting for an epiphany (or several) to rise up and wash over him. And he ended up with much more than he bargained for.
In the Fringe program, Wanderlust is classified as “storytelling”—a mild word for Dockery’s intensely physical style of conveying his wacky adventures through the Sahara desert, the Gambia, Benin, Ghana, and points in between. Most of these adventures centre around his relationships and interactions with the people he meets, travels with, or sleeps near (including, but not limited to, a herd of goats). He has some pretty amazing stories to tell about his companions and hosts along the way, and the things that really tie us all together as human beings (oddly enough, hip-hop music seems to be one of them). As rivetingly hilarious as they are, Dockery’s stories also illustrate many basic, beautiful, uplifting human truths.
The stories are mind-blowing, but it’s Dockery’s delivery that makes this the kind of Fringe show you will kick yourself hard for missing. Aided by a few mood-lighting cues, Dockery gets across the fundamental absurdity of each situation in which he finds himself, the anxiety, awe, and wonder that he feels, and the humour and beauty of each moment.
Dockery is consistently high-energy for over an hour; the pace does not let up, and neither does the hilarity. You are getting your money’s worth and more for this show. Although they may even be gone by the time you read this, he also has DVDs of the show for sale for $10: this is an incredible deal, because he’s infinitely re-watchable.
Wanderlust is playing at Venue 1 – Arts Court Theatre Thursday June 21 at 5:00pm, Friday June 22 at 6:30pm, Saturday June 23 at 3:30pm, and Sunday June 24 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10.