F*****G Stephen Harper!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Categories: Ottawa Fringe 2011

Everyone should see this one man event because whether one agrees with the ideas expressed here or not,  it shows  how a fearless political activist turned performer goes straight for the theatrical jugular  – a rare occurrence in Canadian Theatre.

One could say that he has taken as  his model  Ric Mercer’s  style of political exposé, drowning his enemies in gales of laughter, although it is clear that Salerno is much more radical than our man from Newfoundland.  Rob Salerno tells all about the Conservatives, and their leader, at least we get Salerno’s perspective and it makes for an evening of surprises.  Gasps, gurgles, guffaws and muted giggles great the whole series of revelations that pop up on the screen at the back of the stage. . Ottawan’s are so polite but then it is also the kind of show that works especially well in  Ottawa where the main characters are the local MP.s

Salerno is a  political journalist for Express magazine in Toronto, and an activist for gay rights. He is rather disturbed by the Conservative government’s attitude about cutting funding for programmes that help gays and generally about what he perceives to be their  generally  anti-gay attitude.

He posts the most astonishing quotes on that powerpoint image.  With  photos clearly in view, he names members of parliament, keeping his own comments sufficiently  ambiguous to avoid accusations of libel, but he does put  the explicitly  anti -gay statements by conservative members of parliament clearly in view.   He shows us  news clips, news paper stories and also describes his  own experiences trying to get interviews with members of the party and especially Mr Harper himself.  His quest was impossible. He could never get near the man

Being marginalized  not only because he was gay but also because he did not belong to the mainstream media riled him  to no end and fuelled his growing anger.

Although the going does get a big rough in the story, as Salerno’s frustration  builds up,  there is also much  fantasy at play in the title; thus it is not to be taken literally. However, it can be understood as a  general warning about the way the Harper government sees its role generally in this country and if the show is so hot and angry its only because Salerno thinks that Harper will soon be fucking all of us. and thats what  must be avoided. Salerno  says a lot things that people don’t dare say in public and his frankness is sometimes disarming. But he gets the audience to react and think, and that is a good thing.

Fucking Stephen Harper plays in the  Leonard Beaulne studio at the University of Ottawa.


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