“Help! I’m A Captive Audience Member”
Through his exuberant sketch comedy show, D.K. Reinemer proves that there are, in fact, worse fates than being American. Even in the idyllic nation of Canada, there are times when we encounter hardships that we did not foresee, and are forced to endure them due to such evils as social etiquette and politeness. Such was the case at the opening of the one-man sketch comedy show Help! I’m American at the Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire.
Reinemer received a warm welcome from a sympathetic audience as he appeared onstage to introduce the show and deliver the premise: a not-so-political commentary on the state of affairs in the U.S.A. With so much going on south of the border, there is no shortage of material that can easily be translated to topical, on-point humour. In spite of this, Reinemer manages to deliver a show that feels vaguely familiar, and not in a comforting, nostalgic way.
Nevertheless, Reinemer remains enthusiastic and energetic throughout the performance, keeping the audience engaged and involved. The comedian is big on audience participation, calling on unsuspecting victims to join him on stage where he forces them to join him in song, dance, or striptease, much to their very apparent discomfort. It gets downright awkward at times, but Reinemer manages to keep things moving along, a Hollywood smile plastered across his face at all times, to be sure.
Reinemer’s brand of comedy draws on familiar tropes of American pop culture, assuming such novel characters as the auctioneering cowboy, the socially awkward nerd and the captain of the Titanic, going down with his ship. It’s not exactly ground breaking stuff, but he is clearly fully invested throughout the duration of the show, and there is something endearing about it.
Throughout the night, D.K. uses every tool in his arsenal. He is a big fan of musical comedy, serenading the audience on several occasions. His first musical foray, ‘Ladies First’, is a not so subtle allusion to premature ejaculation, complete with a full-on re-enactment towards the end of the number. Later in the show, he takes to the acoustic guitar a second time, in the aptly titled ‘Sex Is Like’, inviting audience members to participate by shouting out suggestions to fill in the implied blank. There were a few creative responses that incited some giggling, including a grizzly bear and a burrito.
Contrary to what the title would seem to indicate, this is not a show for anyone who is interested in political satire. In fact, you don’t really need to know anything about America, or anything at all to appreciate Reinemer’s comedic stylings. Really, the less you think about it, the better.
Throughout the production, Reinemer expresses his keen interest to be made an honorary Canadian. At the end, he asks the audience, “So what do you think, guys? Can I be Canadian?” Maybe next year, D.K.
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor Anya Leibovitch
DK Reinemer presents “Help! I’m American”
When: June 9 – 18, 2017
Where: Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire, 4750 Rue Henri-Julien
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival