This is by far most personally intense production at Fringe. As a member of the audience you are brought in Tommy’s life, his struggle to escape his demons, with a suspense filled portion of the show that if you haven’t read the synopsis catches you off guard.
Tommy is on a journey, it ebbs and flows. His show takes you through his recent life. He is a former street magician and he keeps you guessing. He illustrates his act with a straight jacket and a deck of cards. This kind of puts you at ease. He then rehashes his first one man show he did here in Cincinnati in 2002, called Burning Man, which was done at the Know. Here you see the tension in him rise and you feel him be more uneasy.
Then he starts to take about how he wants (or wanted) to end the show. The show was supposed to end with him playing Russian Roulette. After a few minutes of discussing this and getting the gun out, one audience member actually walked out. It appears to have been too much for her to take. The tension gets to you. It feels like he is going to do it. I am not keen on having guns around, even more if they are loaded, so I was nervous.
Will he do it? Was he ever really going to do it? That is the bottom line question and it kept me thinking well after the show. Was he being real? Was he telling us a tale? The drama was real. The tension for the audience is real. The gasp was still real. Tommy Nugent is very real.