Company: Elephant and Peanut, Austin, TX
Venue: 4 - Alloway Hall (Manitoba Museum)
(Reviewed at the Toronto Fringe Festival)
hough it’s an intriguing idea, Jonah’s story of heartbreak comes off less as despair and more as desperate.
Like the lyrics to the Tom Waits song from which it takes its title, Innocent When You Dream
is all about the longing for a lost love.
Texan actor and puppeteer Zeb West has cleverly chosen two literary dreamers through which to explore the pain of a lost obsession - Don Quixote and Moby Dick
's Captain Ahab - who he brings to life using a collection of puppets and masks. He also plays a modern young man, Jonah, who is stranded in the belly of the whale after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
However promising this premise is, the play lacks in its execution. Though it's an intriguing idea, and West makes smart use of the space on stage and props, Jonah's story of heartbreak comes off less as despair and more as desperate. You feel bad for the guy, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want to listen to him ponder why she won't come back.
Just as Jonah is unable to reconnect with his ex, West struggles in this performance to connect with his audience.