I so appreciate the warmth and love that Mr. Bruner brought to a topic that is foreign to a lot of us: the enmeshment in a cult. How does a nice Canadian boy end up following a guru? One family member, a perfect storm of family disasters, a roving father and voila! You’re in a cult and being groomed to be obedient. The direction was seamless which good directing needs to be.
I thought it was fascinating in a scene where I was choked up and close to tears – where the therapist asks if it’s OK with Rob for them to touch his shoulder — and says, (paraphrase?) “All you need is a little encouragement,” and many audience members laughed. Really all that most of us need is a little encouragement and it was profoundly touching and simple. I could have wept and others were so uncomfortable with that simplicity and pureness of heart that they giggled. Wow. What a disconnect. Rob’s acting was beautiful and never yelled “Hey, I’m acting!” It’s a treat to be with a performer who can simply “be.” And don’t think an autobiographical play makes it easier to “act.” It doesn’t.
What I didn't like
The sound cues were disruptive and too abrupt. The lighting was distracting. And a lot that is because of the festival grind; move one show along and load in the next.
My overall impression
Rob Bruner Rocks in an intimate and atypical one man show. Most one man shows are men exploring the lives – inner and outer- of famous dead white men, or in some instances dead MOC. Rob is very much alive and open about a journey that is entertaining and heart-wrenching in equal measure.