Mark Shyzer returns to Ottawa Fringe with Great Battles in History, an exploration of some of the most ground-breaking and important military Victories and losses that have shaped the world today.
Should you see it?
Great Battles in History is not the show you think it’s going to be. I thought the show honestly would be a show, full of laughter and music about the greatest battles in history. And while the show does include laughter and music and discussion around two or three great battles in history, the majority of the show is a story about making a show about the greatest battles in history, that is doomed to fail and ultimately does.
Shyzer is funny. He’s witty and wry in his presentation. He truly makes you believe at times that this other show was going to actually happen. Yet the obsession over this failed show, aptly titled Battle Hymn, (or after some PR work Battle! Hymn?) distracts from what the show pegs itself as being.
Shyzer also spends most of his time in the dark, which is completely unnecessary and is played out for a simple gag at the end of the show. The few battles that Shyzer does go into detail, dialogue, monologue and song about are very limited. He spends most of the show coming back to Genghis Khan and then wraps up the show with a very funny conversation between Napoleon and Wellington, with brief mentions of World War 1 and Hitler sporadically scattered throughout its run.
I guess scattered is the best way to describe this show. It does have its charm. It does have its appeal. But it wasn’t linear enough to be one coherent story that could leave me feeling the satisfaction I hope for when leaving a show. Perhaps it just simply needs to be reworked, but there was something off about it that left me needing something more.
What did you think? What war or battle sticks out in your mind as one of the greatest or most important? Join the discussion in the comments below.
For more information about Great Battles in History, including show times and how to buy advance tickets, check out the show page on ottawafringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/great-battles-in-history/