2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘A Bro’s Tale’ by Majdy Fares (3 stars)

A perceptive and funny, if sometimes meandering, account of growing up Palestinian-American in Dearborn, Michigan.

Majdy Fares has all the markings of a standout comic: He’s confident, perceptive, and has great comedic timing. But he fails in his one-hour standup A Bro’s Tale, playing during this week’s Capital Fringe, to deliver a cohesive story with clear takeaways.

He sets himself up for a great punchline. On a simple comic’s stage, complete with a mic stand, table, and bottle of water, he begins his act by describing an intimate love story in a seemingly foreign land, Dearborn, Michigan.

The son of Palestinian immigrants, Majdy is pressured at an early age to both assimilate into American cultural norms and uphold his parents’ Palestinian traditions. It’s here where Majdy is at his best, giving us lessons on how to actually pronounce his name (it’s Mahj-DEE), poetic descriptions of Dearborn (its own planet, covered in clouds of cologne, populated with hookah-bros), and punching up at Americans’ bizarre stereotypes and hangups with race (his description of his father’s bafflement after leaving the war-torn Middle East to arrive in the middle of Detroit’s 1967 race riots is hilarious).

When Majdy falls in love with an aspiring investigative journalist, he tailspins into an identity crisis. It’s here where he loses the thread of his story. By the time he finishes jokes about a cross-country road trip, apple shopping, and the obligatory (and exhausting) rant about free speech, he has little time to flesh out important plot points and central characters including his now-wife.

A Bro’s Tale and Majdy have potential. A healthy edit will sharpen this necessary voice.

Running Time: 50 minutes.

A Bro’s Tale plays July 16 at 2:15 pm, July 22 at 6:15 pm, and July 23 at 12:40 pm at Squirt – 1st Floor – 1050 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

Genre: Comedy
Director: Firas Natour
Playwright: Majdy Fares
Performer: Majdy Fares
Age Appropriateness: Recommended for children age 13+ older
Profanity: Yes

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.


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