I have good news and bad news about The Hefner Monologues. Let’s start with the good news: this play reignited my love for the Calgary Fringe Festival. The bad news? There is a chance that John Hefner will be cancelling his last show due to personal reasons. So the one play that struck a chord for me so far, might not even be playing anymore. It’s a shame.
The play is a one man show about heartbreak and first love and first visit to the Playboy mansion. John tells us about the first girl he was ever in love with. How he went further than he’s ever gone before. Except that this girl was engaged. Or she was engaged to be engaged? I’m a little fuzzy of the details here, but it doesn’t really matter because John launches into how he got through to this girl with a miracle in kleenex. How he created this entire play and how it would be like the Vagina Monologues, except, you know, the Hefner Monologues instead.
We get to know how John is in fact related to Hugh Hefner and how he visited the Playboy Mansion when he was seven. And in true low budget brilliance, John strips off his hoodie to reveal a green t-shirt underneath, featuring the teenage mutant ninja turtles. It reads: Drug Free – The way to be. It’s all kinds of awesome.
The play features Captain Buzzkill who reminds me of Tawanda in Fried Green Tomatoes, who sports a motto of ‘if I can’t have a good time, no one will’. It also feature John’s first acting gig as Detective Doug in which he strips naked for a scene. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, which is to say they are all bad seats!
The Hefner Monologues is funny, clever, smart and genuine. It explores the idea of having an identity on loan from someone else. It incorporates different stories and though they don’t all come together in one pulled together theme (I was rooting for a home run the whole time), John has immense charm and stage presence that keeps your attention. He’s funny and entertaining. Here’s hoping that he can make his last show and that it will be a full house because of this review because his play is worth it in the Fringe Festival.
The Hefner Monologues may run one more time, if you cross your fingers. Tickets available here.