Everyone in the audience at this show said “What the fuck?” At least twice. I got dragged on stage, a horse mask got jammed on my head, and the talent pantomime sniffed around me like I was a pile of cocaine at a Mötley Crüe after-party. Halfway through, someone got selected to smack the talent around with a dildo tied to a crucifix. Out here in the perimeter, shit gets weird.
Where do I start with this show? I mean, the title alone indicates that it’s going to be one hell of a trip, and when the flyer itself describes the show as ‘absurdist DIY theatre’, you really just have to accept that this is probably going to get messy. I’ll give it credit, there was some serious truth in the advertising; ‘absurd’ doesn’t even scratch the surface. Fundamentally, Ross Purdy is making a rather strong statement about the current titanic clusterfuck modern mainstream society has become, whilst also making his feelings about religion pretty clear – considering he compares Christ to Charles Manson at one point, answers on a postcard as to what side of the argument Purdy’s decided to plant his flag.
You know that scene in Almost Famous where the protagonist tells his editor that what he’s doing is, “A think-piece about a mid-level band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom,” where in reality he’s really just dicking around and falling in love with a groupie? Initially I thought that’s basically what Kentucky Fried God Murder is, but it was expertly opined that, well, can’t it be both?
It’s a surreal, weird, batshit-insane (yes, I know that’s three ways of saying the same thing but I really can’t overstate the absurdity here) romp through Purdy’s imagination, whilst also trying to make a salient point. You know what? I can’t hate on the bloke for making it as nuts as possible. If you’re going to sell something as absurdist DIY theatre, it’s got to be like Lars Von Trier and David Lynch decided to out-mindfuck each other. Ultimately though, style is all well and good, but there's got to be some substance underneath all the fake blood and ridiculousness.
When attempting to head down this path, you’ve got to accept that some people just aren’t going to get it. Was it funny? Some parts, sure. Will some people probably wish they’d played it safe? Undoubtedly, but anyone who reads the flyer for a show called ‘Kentucky Fried God Murder’ and doesn’t expect it to live up to that billing, well, they’ve brought that upon themselves. I guess, really, that this is the wild west of Fringe shows, deep in bat country, and by going full Brando in Apocalypse Now, Purdy’s just waiting to see which Dennis Hopper comes out of the jungle to tag along.