I’m generally skeptical of one-man shows because I know they depend on the charm and talent of the star, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into Zack Adams: Love Songs for Future Girl.

The show stars Shane Adamczak, a native of Perth, Australia, who first introduced the Zack Adams character to Fringe Festivals in 2006. Following the success of his show The Ballad Of Frank Allen, Adamczak has brought Zack Adams back.

It should be said that the show’s subject matter is nothing original. It’s the story of a cis straight man, Zack Adams, discussing through song and story the women in his life, his travels, and his professional mishaps as a performer and children’s drama teacher.

I had the opportunity to email back and forth with Adamczak prior to show so I asked him if the character was based on anyone in particular.

“Zack is based partially on me, partially on people I knew in drama school, but mostly a figment of my imagination. I like to think of him as a cooler alter ego…like my version of Ziggy Stardust. He’s evolved a lot over the years; he started as a nervous performance poet then became a struggling actor, a time traveller and then a folk rock star. It’s nice to find an outlet to live my rock star fantasies, I suppose.”

People have compared the show to Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and Adamczak is super flattered by the comparison as he’s a big fan of the book and film adaptation. He admits that there are a lot of similar themes with regards to music, reflecting on past relationships and how they can change you as a person. Adamczak’s portrayal of these themes through Zack Adams is however a lot fresher and more fun.

While Hornby’s hero is deflated and loveably sad, Zack Adams is funny, a little angry, and almost frenzied in his storytelling. There are gags in the show you won’t expect, and rants – sometimes in song, sometimes without – that will make you laugh.

He says Bob Dylan was the primary musical inspiration for the show with “a bit if cheesy 90s pop thrown in too,” something that will appeal to the thirty somethings in the audience. What really sells the show is Adamczak himself, who is charming and looks far too young to have been touring for ten years.

You won’t just be watching a schmuck on stage with a guitar, you’ll be watching dance moves and hand gestures and tales of hilarious misery all packaged in a ginger Aussie in an 80s punk-inspired studded denim jacket.

When I asked Adamczak what he would say to people thinking of seeing the show, he said:

“ABSOLUTELY do it. Bring your sister, brothers and significant others, we’ll make a night of it and you’ll leave smiling with a bunch of weird funny songs stuck in your head.”

Zack Adams says in the show that if a show is good, you’ll be talking about it with your friends for two weeks, but if it’s a bad show, you’ll talk about it forever. I’ll be talking about this one for at least two weeks. In the meantime, go see it! It’s worth it.

Zack Adams: Love Songs for Future Girl plays two more times at the Montreal Fringe, June 14th and 15th. For tickets and info: montrealfringe.ca

ZACk to the future

When I saw the list of performers at this year’s Fringe Festival, there were certain shows I immediately knew I wanted to check out: one of them was Shane Adamczak (aka Zack Adams) and his production of Zack Adams: Zack to the Future. 

The native Australian has always impressed me with his quirky songwriting on No More Radio podcasts and in this new one man production he provides not only that but storytelling and a creepy puppet to boot. The venue for this show (Venue 4) is both conveniently and unfortunately located across the street from Fringe Park. I would actually advise against seeing shows there because as I watched the show I was distracted by the sounds of ironically, The No More Radio showcase at the Park.

The premise is that Zack Adams  wants to see if he ever becomes famous so he borrows a time machine and travels five years into the future to find his future self. While I wanted to love Zack to the Future, I have to admit that my favourite show by Adamczak remains the audience participation show How to Start a Country with Gerard Harris (which will be performed as a part of this year’s Zoofest).

ZACk adams

Don’t get me wrong there are some great moments throughout this show; as with his previous shows, his songs are my favourite part. Honestly it’s hard not to enjoy yourself as Adamczak is incredibly charming and has a great knack for physical comedy, flinging himself from one side of the stage to the other.

Don’t go see Zack to the Future if you’re looking for depth to your science fiction storytelling, go because you want to be entertained by a great comedian with a promising future.

Zack to the future plays until June 23rd. For tickets visit  the Fringe Festival Website.