Tuesday, September 11, 2007
If you haven't seen Billy the Mime before: he's South Park come to life: an elegant mime who channels crudely erudite takes on historic moments gone horribly wrong. If you have (like me), you're wasting your time and money: his act hasn't changed from the 2006 Fringe. I didn't love it then, though I thought it was at least interesting (albeit obscure for the teen-to-20s crowd). Billy has a repertoire of forty 5-minute skits, but I saw almost the same fourteen, in the same order. Yes, he's cleaned them up and refined the moments and transitions between characters. But his act grows less and less topical: he performed a general Columbine in "High School" rather than the new "Virginia Tech 4-16-07" and rehashed "A Day Called 9/11" (admittedly, I saw it on 9/11), not "A Hurricane Called Katrina." Bone up your history so you know that he's talking about President Jefferson in "Thomas & Sally: A Night At Monticello," and be prepared to pick apart the images that Billy skims in wide pieces like "The Sixties" or "World War II." "A Romance" and "The Clown & The Beautiful Woman" appear to be staples of Billy's act, and that stale repetition (no matter how once lip-smackingly tasty) makes a quirky, smirky act into a chore, a labor, and a routine.