By Jay Menard
Martin Dockery’s Delirium, which closed the Fringe Festival last night, is a fast-paced, energetic, and hilarious one-man show that takes topics as diverse as immigration, Burning Man, and Monarch butterflies, and finds the interconnectedness and meaning in between them.
Dockery is a gifted storyteller. Alone, on an empty stage, he spends an hour captivating the audience with three seemingly separate tales. The first deals with his proposal to his partner Vanessa after dealing with immigration at Pearson International Airport in Toronto; the second is the tale of an encounter he had at Burning Man, prompted by a restaurant idea he had at the festival; and the final story is an airplane encounter he had following the death of his beloved dog, prompted by a seat mix-up.
Though the stories seem disconnected — and for much of the play, they’re intentionally left that way — they’re wrapped up and tied together beautifully in the end. Dockery masterfully lays the foundations for the conclusion, expertly uses call-backs to earlier statements, and shows that these seemingly independent stories are all part of a larger connection.
Dockery expends a tremendous amount of energy on the stage and it’s infectious. As an audience member, you’re swept along as he paces and prowls the stage. He illustrates the story with hands that dance through the air and with a body that twists, contorts, and moves as the tales are told. He uses his voice expertly, ranging from deeper, casual tones, to an almost sing-songy high pitch used to express incredulity.
Delirium is part storytelling, part marathon, and a journey to a destination makes it all worthwhile.
***** — five out of five stars
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca.