Big Shot at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011 (review)

This play has a lot of hype at this year’s Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011–and for good reasons. Big Shot is a compelling solo play featuring six different characters whose destiny all meet at one fateful moment on the SkyTrain.

The narrator is a boy who loves cinema; he is coming back home after seeing a movie somewhere in Vancouver. The most interesting thing about Big Shot is that it uses movie language to show what theater can do that movies can’t.

The writing was excellent: gripping, poetical and emotional. The writer/actor did a good job of depicting all the different characters, not only physically but also through their words. Each scene slowly builds up to the final moment and weaves all the different strands together. As you gain more and more information, you start to see the picture: inevitable, tragic, real.

John Lachlan Stewart is an actor to watch–literally. I thought his physical acting top notch, easily switching between a recovering drug addict, an 8-year-old boy and an old Japanese man. I was especially impressed with his delivery of Japanese–I don’t understand the words but I’ve watched enough animes to know the natural flow of the language, and this was very close. By the sweat on his shirt at the end of the play, you could see that John was totally into his characters.

The set–well, there’s no set actually. The only prop is a black blazer. I think any object or background would have distracted from the physical performance. The lighting was right on and the sound design, used parsimoniously, had the desired effect of enhancing certain moments or character traits.

The play left me breathless and moved. Even when you see the end coming, its inexorability is hypnotizing. There’s nothing you can do but watch when it all finally together in a final scene that could rival even the best movies. But this play is not a movie, and that’s the best thing about it. It’s all a movie cannot be; it shows what theatre can do and still does despite its decline in popularity. Thanks to festivals like the Vancouver International Fringe Festival, there is still a space where these artistic issues can be explored.

My boyfriend, a playwright himself, fan of solo plays and physical acting, was impressed. I can’t think of a better endorsement for Big Shot. A definite must-see at this year’s Fringe. Here’s some video from the play we found on YouTube.

Disclaimer: Anabelle attended Big Shot on a Super Pass graciously provided by the Vancouver International Fringe Festival organizers. We were not otherwise compensated for our review, nor was a positive one expected. Raul always maintains editorial control over content published on

Read all of our Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011 coverage here.

Related posts:

  1. The Seminar at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011 (review)
  2. Stay Away From My Boat @$$hole at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011: Review
  3. Fortunate Son at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011 (review)
  4. Trouble in Tahiti at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2011 (review)
  5. Vancouver International Fringe Festival: Big Shot

Comments (1)

[...] On Saturday August 10th, I spent the day on Granville Island to attend two Fringe plays, Fortunate Son and Big Shot. (You can see reviews respectively here and here.) [...]

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