Reviewed by Nikita Rybak
Alexander Sparrow is ENIGMA, a man so big his greatness cannot be contained by lowercase letters. Like Fire Fist, McLovin and RobotNinjaxXx, ENIGMA is a blowfish of a name. It’s an over-confident facade to protect a vulnerable child inside. It’s also a perfect name for this character, for you see, ENIGMA is a pick-up artist.
On top of being ENIGMA, Alexander Sparrow is really funny. He uses real life observations to create a character who is both true and over the top, both sympathetic and comical, more awkward and less angry version of Tom Cruise character from Magnolia. He uses real PUAs’ affinity for slang and dials ridiculous to 11 with terms like PCA (Pro Coitus Activist) and AFL (average fuckhead looser). He takes all the usual peacock accessories, like aviator glasses, waistcoat and spiked leather wristbands, puts them on at the same time and then brags about them (“note that the second belt serves no practical purpose”).
One of the show’s pleasant surprises is that those observations aren’t limited to ENIGMA’s dress and demeanour, we’re also offered a glimpse of his inner life. Over the course of an hour, ENIGMA’s painstakingly built facade crumbles, one slab of baroque plaster at a time, and we see the ugly brick face underneath. It’s a man who is fearful of connection, desperate for love and has no idea what to do around women. Even his hip aviator cap turns out to be a mask, hiding a dent in the skull his father left him.
The whole show (“social skills seminar”) builds up to a practical demonstration in the end, where ENIGMA shows one lucky AFL how to seduce an attractive audience member. His secret move, which I won’t spoil here, turns out to be as hilarious as it is ineffectual. Yet, despite being the perfect pick up advice for a man called ENIGMA, the ending is also the show’s biggest disappointment. Despite being totally clueless, ENIGMA is never confronted by reality. Reality just shrugs its shoulders and ENIGMA remains the lord of seduction. It’s like watching a man walk on a banana peel and not slip. Possible, yes, but monumentally unsatisfying. I was left wishing for more silly seduction techniques, more practical examples and to see ENIGMA deal with their inevitable failure. It’s no fun watching Homer Simpson fail at home renovation once and give up. I want to see him fail repeatedly, until his living room looks like a nuclear test site, and then explain to Marge that the dog did it.
What was I on about? Oh yes, endings. Alexander Sparrow is ENIGMA is great. It’s fun, it’s funny and at times charming. All-around good time.