Rebel Without a Niche
nytheatre.com review by Reagan Wilson
February 27, 2008
A veteran of the Canadian Fringe Circuit, Rebel without a Niche is an hour-long anecdote through the life of a New York artist who makes ends meet by working temp jobs. Written and performed by Kurt Fitzpatrick, this one-man show serves up a few hearty belly laughs though they are few and far between. The evening begins with our hero recounting the tale of working the graveyard shift for a large bank, accompanied by a Type A employer, a creepy minister, a guy whose dating woes are told in Abbott and Costello fashion, and a music-loving Brit. Accents get muddled and one starts to feel the story would be more enjoyable if this one-man show had more than one man, so we could see all the characters interact with one another. The characters come and go quickly in this lengthy skit and are for the most part forgettable, except for the creepy minister, the kind of guy whose mild manners are only a mere façade for the ticking bomb that lies beneath.
Following this disastrous job, we next find Fitzpatrick responding to an ad in the paper for employment as "foot messenger." Having known someone who lasted less than 24 hours in a similar position, I found this skit particularly amusing. Here, we encounter a jelly-donut-loving security guard, and get a glimpse of where Fitzpatrick's true talent lies—in his face. A student of Upright Citizens Brigade, he has mastered the art of facial contortion. Watching our Hannibal Lecter-esque security guard munch on an imaginary donut has the audience rolling with laughter and will surely melt the ice off any comedy-defiant New Yorker.
The infectious laughter of this scene was only matched in a skit from job number three where he is employed at Madison "Scare" Garden. Hired as a swing performer, it's fun to watch him fill in as various ghouls and find solace as a growling ghoul with a sheet over his head.
The list of temp jobs continues, the number of characters grows (many of which sound the same), and the evening becomes a string of slightly humorous tales. With more direction and a tightening of the script, Rebel without a Niche could be hilarious. Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick and director Gabe Hakvang still have a ways to go before reaching that goal, but one should go along for the ride anyway, if only to see the jelly donut sketch.