I Hate Bill Pats (Bessie Jean Productions)
Saskatoon Fringe Festival
The personal monologue. It’s a Fringe tradition, and at many festivals it seems that everyone – everyone – has a tale to tell. The questions is: Do they all really need to be told?
I Hate Bill Pats is Bill Pats’ new personal monologue show, comprised of sections of his two other personal monologue shows, one of which was at this festival last year. That’s a lot of Bill Pats. And while it seems to be a popular enough production, I take exception both to the subject matter and to Bill Pats’ execution thereof.
Bill Pats is a thief. Self-admitted. He stole over $30,000 from a Moxie’s restaurant. This theft was followed by a plethora of other self-destructive decisions, which let to the shocking lack of funds when it came time to pay the entry fee for the Winnipeg Fringe. Now, most artists don’t possess an abundance of ready cash, and more than one artist has had to forgo an opportunity as a result of that. But from this show, it is clear that self-control and delayed gratification are not priorities for Mr. Pats. I would have much rather heard the story of an artist who needed to go to creative and dramatic lengths to pay the entry fee for the Fringe. Sorry, Bill. You fail to inspire any sympathy with your dishonest and immature life decisions.
But this is getting personal, and one cannot base a review on personal distaste for the subject. So – the monologue is lifeless. Often mumbled, entire phrases are difficult to catch. Bill Pats is not an actor and not a monologuist and it shows. He doesn’t inspire sympathy because he isn’t a likeable character onstage. Attention-grabbing and whiny, this self-involved monologue is well-written, but the delivery lacks the skill needed to grab (and keep) the audience’s attention.