We are given a good sense of the outward man from the way he talks to his colleagues, and to the public via chat shows, but a deeper sense of Gnarr as a person is lacking.
Sandy Nelson’s script only really provides characterisation for Gnarr himself. We follow his motivation as he decides to form the party, his pleasure at his initial success, and his trials and tribulations along the way. However, even this feels rather superficial. We are given a good sense of the outward man from the way he talks to his colleagues, and to the public via chat shows, but a deeper sense of Gnarr as a person is lacking. This is not a play that is interested in the nuances of what makes such a fascinating character tick.
The supporting characters fare even worse. Heida Helgadottir, the campaign manager, is a single mother who, as the play points out, is choosing to spend her limited resources on pushing this joke campaign; Óttarr Proppe, Gnarr’s sidekick, is an ex-punk rockstar. These are exciting people, but you wouldn’t know it, as the play reduces them almost entirely to providing moral support to Gnarr.
The actors work wonders with the material they have been given. Rebecca Elise gives a very amusing performance as “Kirsty” when she interviews Gnarr, and brings warmth to her main role as Helgadottir. Her monologue on art and politics is beautifully delivered. Jamie Scott Gordon is clearly enjoying his role as the eccentric punk rocker, and it's infectious. Sandy Nelson (who both wrote and stars in the play) gives an engaging performance, and demonstrates a pleasingly easy way with his audience, particularly in the scenes in which he addresses them directly.
Ultimately, this is a rather thin dramatisation of an exciting event and an interesting man. It never quite manages to achieve the status of working as a drama in its own right, and it’s difficult to see what is to be gained by watching the play that wouldn’t be gained from reading Gnarr's book on the subject.