Have you ever seen those booths at a career fair or in the main library manned by a cheery American bursting at the seams with patriotism, promising a wholesome outdoor experience in the land of the free? Some walk by those recruiters without a second thought, others find themselves in a cesspool of underage hormones and mosquitoes for 6 weeks. This is a story of the latter.
Steve Bugeja went to summer camp in the United States in 2009, and this show is his tell-all. The story starts with a prolonged, baffling audience interaction, gleaming with the newly polished awkward humour that made Bugeja’s story so funny in the first place.
The ad he played at the top of the show promised a respite from your kids, sending them off to learn how to deal with people they don’t like and pitch a tent. But this comedian didn’t bite that bait, no. He signed up as a camp counsellor to lose his virginity.
From the first moments on the bus into camp to the final prom his endeavours are hilarious and unprofitable. In the midst of his failures in the ways of love is his heartwarming journey learning from his assigned camper. At this camp, the counsellors and campers have a 1:1 ratio so that each counsellor can pay special attention to their camper’s unique needs. Every camper has autism and Bugeja deftly and warmly educates the audience about struggles and advantages across the spectrum.
The jokes were always at his expense, and never at the expense of the autistic children. On the contrary, his camper proves the unforeseen hero of his journey. The object, of course, somehow changing along the way from intercourse to self-discovery.
Every camper leaves with a few battle stories and side-splitting absurdities, but Bugeja reaped the awkward moments in abundance. His particular struggles were neither cliche nor forgettable, and his vivid recollections might bring you to tears.
Bugeja may ward you off his show, early on boasting of having “the stickiest” venue in all of the Fringe, but a short trek to the Tron and a bottle of hand sanitizer will prove more than worth the life lessons and schadenfreude that come free with Steve Bugeja: Summer Camp.
Steve Bugeja: Summer Camp
Just The Tonic @The Tron