Les Kurkendaal performs in Walking While Black in Moscow.
Les Kurkendaal performs in Walking While Black in Moscow.

Forget next week’s predicted hurricane, veteran fringe performer Les Kurkendaal’s newest play Walking While Black in Moscow is a force of nature you will welcome with open arms.

What’s a gay black guy in love to do when he finds out his boyfriend has to go to Russia? What’s that gay black guy to do when he finds out via a DNA test that he is part Russian? The obvious answer is to hop a plane and get in touch with his roots.

There begins a 50-minute journey with Kurkendaal as he walks Russia’s streets greeted with filthy looks and “hey bro!” selfie takers.

There is not a ton of surprises – some Russians are rude, some are nice, being gay in Russian isn’t easy – but Kurkendaal’s delivery is worth the price of admission. Like a rocket he takes us from place to place and realization to realization so enthusiastically, his charisma pulls you in.

The show is new and Kurkendaal seems to trip up in a few places given the pace and speed of his delivery. It’s a minor quibble, and something that will surely get ironed out as the piece progresses.

Walking While Black in Moscow was a pleasant surprise and while exhausting (in a good way) it is definitely a worthwhile way to spend time at the Fringe.

Walking While Black in Moscow continues at the Neptune Imperial Stage (1589 Argyle St, Halifax) as part of the Halifax Fringe Festival. Visit halifaxfringe.ca for tickets and information.