The beautiful simplicity of the storyline provokes reflection on the nature of our everyday interactions, the way we communicate and how isolating our world can be, despite the near-constant buzz of noises that surrounds us. The occasions when the sounds of various electronic devices and human voices built up to a nonsensical cacophony brought us right into Vernus’ world, and allowed us to understand that what should be simple has been complicated by what we think of as technology and innovation. The result is that we rejoice at the end when he finds an ingenious way around the obstacles on his path.
As Sandrine Lafond tears out her own innards and begins to lick them, we know that we’re in for a weird and wonderful experience. Grotesque and delightful, Little Lady illuminates the experience of biological maturation that is universally undergone but easily forgotten. This play is an opening onto the alien desires and anxieties of a wordless, changing woman. Lafond is an incredible physical performer; never have I seen someone develop such an intimate relationship with their own toes. Lafond’s character wrestles with the rapid growth of body parts that weren’t there before, twisting and turning to fit into her new skin. Hers is the painful metamorphosis from child to adult but communicated in such a way that we can see its physical and psychological strangeness.
Review by Mark Dance
60 mins | Comedy, Solo Show | Mature
From a kilted private school nerd with saliva-control issues to a grumbling geezer on his deathbed, the world of Fishbowl is populated by absurd and gut-busting personalities. Mark Shyzer takes on four distinct characters and, although they momentarily feel like a gang of shallow sketch characters, he [...]
Reviewed by Andrew Snowdon
70 min / Storytelling / PG
Martin Dockery was a 35-year-old long-term temporary employee of the New York Stock Exchange when he decided to quit his job and leave Brooklyn to take a five-month journey across West Africa. His plan? Oh, you don’t know Martin Dockery. For a man who takes every random [...]
Review by Alessandro Marcon
55 minutes / Solo / Storytelling / R
If one is unable to fathom just how intimate a relationship can be between a man and dog, John Grady’s play Fear Factor: Canine Edition might prove illuminating. It’s the story of a man and his love for his pooch. Aware of the over-used cliché [...]
Hard Times is a solo performance featuring the early 1900’s style of Vaudeville theatre. In history, the genre past it’s heyday in the 1930’s during the Great Depression when film and radio began to gain popularity. This performance pays homage to this event by depicting the final act of what would be a Vaudeville play, referred to as the Chaser. The act was performed as a monologue with various intermittent songs sung by Bremner Duthie. His character grieved the end of the play and of theatre in general in the “hard times” of a society going through a socioeconomic transition, in which the arts is one of the first to go.
The singing, making up the other half of the show, was rich and lovely; Melanie Gall’s powerful voice rendered her microphone almost unnecessary and Bremner Duthie lit up his share of the tunes. The only weak point in the sung portion came when the two voices clashed as one singer tripped up the other in duet. Gall did her best to get the audience to sing along but most spectators were quite content to just listen to the superb voices.
Motley hails from Melbourne, Australia; for one reason or another, Australians tend to do really well at the Ottawa Fringe. It seems to be because they’re especially friendly and they tour great shows. Good thing, too: we make it worth their while to travel halfway around the world to present a one-hour show, and it’s certainly worth our while to be able to see them. Dirk Darrow is no exception to this rule. It’s pretty much a guaranteed good time.
It’s a daunting task to tell such a familiar, tragic, story, especially when much of the audience in Ottawa is likely to know it well (it’s worth mentioning that you need not know any of the background to fully understand the show). White Noise manages to do it in an interesting, respectful manner. Please don’t let the subject matter keep you away. It’s a great show, perfect for rounding out your Fringe calendar.
One of the most surprising elements of It Is What It Is was the ability of the actors to project an understanding of the depth and complexity of their subject matter, which was occasionally quite dark. I found some of the monologues to be impressive in their frankness and insight compared to those I’ve seen by elder, (presumably) more experienced performers. Some of the later drama was a little heavy-handed and cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so. As well, there were at least a few good one-liners.