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.
When the mannequins come on stage, I feel the stage at last come alive. The pas de deux of the mannequins is romantic and sweet. Two dancers, Austin Fagan and Joanie Audet, enliven mannequins of opposite gender, animating their gestures with Ronnie Burkett grace. Dating. Popcorn at the movies. Cocktails at the bar. Return to apartment, together. It still brings a smile to my face. Olivia Citter’s pas de quatre with the three men of the company touched my heart with its beauty and passion. I don’t know how it advances the plot… and I don’t care. I close my eyes and I still savour it.
Ultimately, Aerial Allusions asks a lot of interesting questions without trying to answer them, while the only one it inspires in return is, “What was that?” The conclusion I’ve come to is that this dancer-comedian duo should not quit their day jobs and reconsider sticking to their respective solo careers. They just don’t have the on-stage chemistry to work together.