by Élaine Charlebois
After reading the brief and vague description of No Fixed Abode, I had no idea what to expect out of this rap/poetry one-man show. I was pleasantly surprised.
Ashton Francis, a.k.a. Vandal St. Hodgepodge, is a skilled performer who completely embodied his character with unwavering energy and gusto. Playing the part of a young runaway who has renounced his privileged upbringing after witnessing the guards of “The Man” (Hodgepodge’s father) brutalize a helpless beggar, Francis succeeds in drawing in the Petit Campus audience from start to finish. His quick tongue and intelligent rhymes showcase his talent as a performer and his ability to hold his own throughout an entire show.
What was additionally impressive about Francis’ performance was his physicality and sense of self-awareness. In spite of the fact that I missed a few words or rhymes here and there throughout the show, Francis’ body language and physicality ensured that the message of his story was not lost on me.
Though a show like No Fixed Abode may not be for everyone, it is certainly an impressive piece of solo work.