Fringe Binge #2: Perpetual Sunshine Machine

Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Playwright: Bryan Boodhoo
Director: Bryan Boodhoo
Cast: Carlos Jimenez, Kathleen Dodd
Warnings: Mature Content
Show Type: Comedy, Drama
Audience: General
Running Time: 50 minutes

This post originally appeared on Raise the Hammer.

When spectators of Perpetual Sunshine Machine arrive at the Theatre Aquarius Studio, they're greeted by chaos. On the stage, strewn with gadgets and books, they find Xavier, a constant tinkerer, who moves from experiment to experiment with an expression of worry fixed on his face.

Equally as worried is Xavier's sister, Emma, who tries all she can to convince her brother to leave his home to comply with psychiatric appointments. "You seem so lost," she says, in one of her many moments of distress. However, Xavier is focused on only one thing. He's building a perpetual sunshine machine, a contraption that mines sunshine like gold, rendering gold markets obsolete.

It's easy to write Xavier off as a mad scientist, but Bryan Boodhoo's thoughtful script reveals the complexity behind Xavier's obsession: His parents were killed while working in the gold industry. Xavier believes his perpetual sunshine machine will spare others a similar fate.

Steeped in loss, Perpetual Sunshine Machine is unique from start to finish thanks to a memorable script and two actors who share obvious chemistry. It may be a two-person show, but it's dominated by a third, invisible character — Xavier's mental illness.

Perpetual Sunshine Machine is billed as a comedy and drama, but the comedic bits are few and far between. Rather, it's an emotional play about the dynamics between two siblings each grappling with the loss of their parents in their own way.

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