Nils' Fucked Up Day, presented by Romanian troupe Teatrul LUNI de la Green Hours at Dixon Place, is the ideal kind of Fringe show -- funny, ironic, provocative, and well performed. Written and directed by Peca Stefan, the piece satirizes a global pop culture obsession with obscenity, with a script that intentionally pushes the boundaries of good taste.
The work's quirky tone is set by Radu Iacoban, who plays the show's title character. He starts things off with a direct address to the audience explaining a little bit about the company and the production, which is presented in a combination of Romanian and English. The actor radiates charm, as well as a playful sense of humor that eases the audience into the show.
But once Nils' day gets underway, the script paints a very bleak picture of its protagonist, as revelations about drugs, robbery, sexual abuse, and murder are dropped into the conversation -- sometimes rather casually -- as Nils spends a day on the couch smoking pot with best friend Hans (Catalin Babliuc). There are also occasional appearances by Nils' lesbian housemates Heidi (Madalina Ghitescu) and Lola (Ilinca Manolache); Nils' brother, Pops (Tudor Aaron Istodor); and even the show's playwright/director, who plays himself (or at least a version of himself).
About two-thirds of the way through the show, Iacoban once again comes to talk to the audience, apologizing for the bad behavior within the play, and commences to try another take on Nils' day, which doesn't really turn out any better for his character than the first attempt did.
An outstanding video design by Cinty Ionescu accompanies the action, presenting a succession of eye-catching images. Also projected are English summaries of some of the show's Romanian dialogue, although sometimes the words disappear faster than you can read them.