I, Christopher - TORONTO FRINGE 2019 REVIEW

I, Christopher by Elaudio Tamburri


I really wanted to like I, Christopher. The story of a man with aspberegers struggling in the workplace is promising and I liked the concept. Unfortunately it never hits the heights of which I believe the actor is capable of reaching. While I applaud his courage and tenacity in the performance, I ultimately have walked away feeling mildly disappointed and let down by the story. 

Before I even explore this idea further, there is a part of me that is uncomfortable writing a review of a show in which the main actor is exploring a mental disability he has. However I recognize that this is likely a form of my own prejudice, and that by not giving my full and truthful opinion, I feel I would be doing him a disservice. 

As it stands, there is very little story to be found here. Christopher (played by Elaudio Tamburri) is likable, but his struggles are undermined by the lack of a cohesive plot and the banality of the actions and reactions. His performance is full of energy, but he makes the production needlessly difficult for himself by playing opposite pre-recorded voices that add very little to the plot. Large pieces of the script are dictated over the speakers and we simply view him onstage reacting. It does not give his talent a chance to shine as it otherwise would if he was working with a script that truly focused on the most important element of the show which is himself. I feel like an outside eye in either a dramaturg or director would have gone a long way to making this production incredible. As it stands, Christopher fights an uphill battle which makes it difficult to connect with him, or to sympathize with his situation as he’s fighting with ethereal voices which may or may not operate as planned. 

In addition, the set, or lack of it, works against him instead of helping him. It comprises of boxes which substitute for desks and tables. With a little more planning or direction, these could be fine, but as it stands, it makes the entire production look and feel awkward. I would love to see him paint some of them, or to at least get ones that fit together in an appropriate way. 

The best moment of this production is when he addresses the audience at the end as Christopher with the repetition of the title phrase. “I, Christopher have hit a man. I, Christopher -” it continues, but this is undoubtedly the best part of the production. I feel like this could be the heart of the entire show and would make for something truly excellent if he took this confessional style concept and anchored the entire piece around it. 

As it stands, the show itself is heartfelt, but could have used some more time, eyes and collaboration to make it something truly special.

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