The Last Buffalo (Paraphrased) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival Review

By Adam Collier

A company called Paraphrased is mounting a work with the title The Last Buffalo as part of Fringe. The venue is Tarragon Mainspace.

From its first moment, The Last Buffalo had resonance with me.

I’m not sure why. Far from a bad sign though, this is the very best way a play can register with me emotionally. And its playwright Andrew Lee deserves generous praise.

The Last Buffalo follows four intertwining stories. They roll seamlessly into one another. Two of them take place in the present. They follow Jamie and Charles dealing with the loss of Jimmy, Jamie’s father and Charles’ brother.

The other stories take place in the past. They follow the relationships that Jamie (played by Alex Fiddes) and Charles (Greg Dunham) each had with Jimmy (Don Berns).

Mr Dunham is fantastic in The Last Buffalo. His sandpaper-like voice seems particularly well suited to his character’s vivid recollections (one of the funniest is an opening monologue). And from these details a gentle, extremely charming and engaging humor emerges.

Mr Berns and Mr Fiddes are also fantastic. As father and son, the former gregarious but also a bit aloof emotionally, and the latter more sensitive and inquisitive (but not a dork or a sap), they make for a great presence together onstage.

Equally as engaging are Mr Berns and Mr Dunham as brothers.

I’d very strongly recommend The Last Buffalo. I think it showcases a unique voice, an ingenious knack for intuitive storytelling, and has a cast that is unparalleled so far in my experience at the 2010 Fringe.

Details

– The Last Buffalo is playing at the Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Avenue)

– One performance remains: Saturday, July 10th at 9:45PM