“A Tension to Detail” Worthy of High Praise

A Tension to Detail, by Gerard Harris, is a one-man storytelling show from a performer who brings magnetic energy to the stage.

Over the course of the show, Harris’ autobiographical stories explore the central question of why we choose to tell the stories that we do. There are myriad facts, says Harris, and he often wonders what motivates the selection of some over others, as we all live the process of composing our own origin stories.

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“Cardinal” Achieves Brilliance

The circus must be in town considering the variety of clown shows being offered at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year. The genre itself, if you are unfamiliar, does not strictly rest in comedy or ridicule and as Aplombusrhomus’ Cardinal shows us, clown can be an incredible way to reach new levels of storytelling.  Using only their physicality and some clever colour choices, creators-performers Madeleine Hall and Mitchel Rose take audiences on a powerful journey through one man’s subconscious struggle against Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Bride or Die” Comes Close to Greatness

Ok, to be completely honest: Bride or Die was probably one of my least anticipated shows this Ottawa Fringe season (and that hurts me to say, because, if you’ve ever met creator-performer Ashley Rissler then you would know that she is the loveliest human being). Admittedly my initial hesitation stems from the show’s subject matter, namely the institution marriage in the western world and women’s place inside it, due the challenge it poses in thoughtfully exploring its many intricacies. Simply put, it’s tough to make an artistic comment on the capitalistic nature of Marriage and the patriarchal values it can sometimes encourage in defence of women without tearing down other groups of women in the process.  That being said, Rissler’s script is much deeper than the title might lead you to imagine and with a little bit more development time this piece has the potential to be a knock out production.

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“Victory for the Recycled Virgin” is easy to like

I’m a little sad I didn’t see this show earlier, or else I might have included it in my picks for closing weekend!

            Victory for the Recycled Virgin is Houston Robertson’s autobiographical show about new beginnings and how it is never too late to achieve self-worth. When she was still called Barbara she married in her last year of college, as a virgin bride (as was the standard expectation at the time). Marrying so young tends to spell out problems later on, especially when you have no idea what you and your partner’s sexual chemistry will be like, and so it comes as no surprise that divorce eventually comes into the picture (though for a somewhat unexpected reason) and Robertson finds herself in her early 40s, single, depressed, and with no idea how the dating scene works. Through a haphazard series of career changes, personal ads, and men, Robertson finds her own groove, proving that you are only as young as you feel.

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