Mark Vigeant is one of the first acts performing at Piccolo Fringe, which is incredibly fitting. He’s a lot of what comes to mind when I think of the concept of the festival offshoot. Vigeant is quirky as hell, weirdly charismatic, and, above all, acts like he’s just happy to be on stage.
He started his more-or-less one man show, Let’s Make a Website, with a braggadocious walk into the spotlight. His confidence looked completely unearned thanks to the two liter of Diet Mountain Dew in one hand. He just looks like the orphaned child of Matt Foley and a D&D manual, and the gawky energy he brings on stage is infectious.
The next hour spiraled into a series of jokes about nerd culture, the absurd difficulty of actually making a website, and Christopher Walken impressions. None of the geeky references are too esoteric, making it a pretty accessible show for people with all levels of nerd exposure. Plus, much of the humor comes from Vigeant’s overall great delivery, instead of knowledge of why “Jon Snow sux” or Marvel Pinball. He even drew some genuine emotion from the crowd near the end of the play, when his character needed to shed some tears. Vigeant’s on-stage persona presents a spastic likability that makes up for many of the play’s shortcomings, like it’s lack of a concrete beginning, middle, and end.
The culmination of the entire 60 minutes was true art. After taking crowd suggestions at the beginning of the show, naturally involving a certain Russian oligarch, no kill shelters, and bears with jerry curls, the title of the show was fulfilled — we made a website. Thanks to a very enthusiastic crowd, http://putinspussies.club/ is now in existence. Seriously, it’s not porn. Click on the link.
I don’t know if the website existed in some capacity beforehand or not, but it’s proof that the show has better production values than its outer demeanor lets on. The costume Vigeant wears isn’t anything special — just a Weird Al shirt and a wig that had to always be readjusted. He uses production sleight of hand to great advantage, in that respect.
While most of the comedy works well, some of the improvisation was a little more hit and miss. Vigeant did a great job running through a couple technical difficulties, and the audience seemed to enjoy most of his off the cuff remarks. I felt like none of the spur of the moment quips reached the heights of his written antics. In the end, it was a solid effort with a lot of genuine laughs, and a good way to end the first night of Piccolo Fringe at Theatre 99.
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Kelly Rae Smith