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REVIEW: ‘The Dork Knight’

  • The Dork Knight traces the ups and downs of actor Jason O’Connell’s personal and professional life as seen through the prism of his love/hate relationship with the Batman movies. Photos by Will Howell—

  • The Dork Knight traces the ups and downs of actor Jason O’Connell’s personal and professional life as seen through the prism of his love/hate relationship with the Batman movies. Photos by Will Howell—



In The Reviewer’s Chair
Thursday, September 13, 2018 10:58AM

Jason O’Connell’s “The Dork Knight” is a tremendously funny one man show with the distinct feel of watching a TED Talk wherein the speaker slowly loses his mind, finds it again, while doing a flawless Michael Keaton impression along the way.

The premise of the show is simple; a man who has loved Batman his entire life is here to tell you the story of his obsession and how his world revolved around the films. Essentially this is a story about how we become the things we love and how they, in return and in time, become us.

This is most assuredly a comedy and Jason O’Connell, who both performs and wrote the show, has absolutely impeccable comedic timing.

Right from the start, where we are met with a scene straight out of a comic book of a man brooding in a chair overlooking the Gotham City skyline, it’s clear that we’re in for something special. Before long, it becomes obvious as to why. See, this is a one-man-show, but the one man who performs it becomes so many different people and characters along the way it’s purely outstanding.

Through an absurd amount of alarmingly spot on impressions, O’Connell is able to transform his lonely stage into one flush with Batman’s greatest enemies, who take over his subconscious to guide, belittle, and quote Shakespeare to him. From Jack Nicholson’s Joker to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, O’Connell uses these characters to point out the flaws in the franchise alongside the flaws in his own life and it becomes abundantly clear why he idolizes the character of Batman so much.

After all, this is a comedy with a solid heart of gold, not just a show about loving Batman to the point where you see the films a thousand times. This is a show about adoring a man who dresses up like a rodent to fight very specifically themed adversaries because he’s just a man. This is a show about loving Batman to the point where you find yourself unashamedly crying in the movie theater because he’s finally gotten a happy ending and realizing that if he can do it, then so can you. Yes, maybe the Joker is there in your head to tell you some very uncomfortable truths about yourself, and, yes, maybe the Penguin pops up every once and again to make you feel bad about yourself. All the while though, in all his varyingly praised iterations, there’s Batman to show that there is goodness and strength in you too.

Perhaps you know nothing about Batman. Perhaps you grew up with the films and the comics and know quite a lot and have strong opinions on the matter. Or, perhaps, you find yourself echoing O’Connell himself in that you see a tremendous amount of yourself underneath the cape and the cowl. Whatever your case may be, be it one that makes you want to see this show. Running limitedly, from Sept. 12 through Sept. 16, at the Peterborough Players, “The Dork Knight” is not the type of experience you’ll want to miss.

The show is rated PG-13.

Tickets can be purchased online anytime at  www.peterboroughplayers.org and by calling the Box Office at 603-924-7585.

What: “The Dork Knight”

When:: Sept. 12 to Sept. 16

Where: The Peterborough Players 55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough

Cost: $42

Information: (603) 924-7585 or www.peterboroughplayers.org

Cheyenne Heinselman is an actress and a playwright, a member of the International Thespian Society Troupe #7883, as well as an avid and opinionated supporter of the arts.