From the same ladies who brought the charming Synsk Sisters to Ottawa back in 2016 with In Waking Life; The Brotherhood brings us a whole new dynamic duo who are here to titillate and seduce audiences with their mastery of the magical arts. Even in this premiere iteration of this work, with its few rough edges, Spicy Day theatre company manages to take the audience on such an unexpected journey that is simultaneously fun and yet incredibly poignant.
The Brotherhood stars magicians Aleksandra and Alexandra as the Double Aces who are determined to prove why they deserve to be initiated into the entirely-male Brotherhood of Wizards and, luckily for them, a scout for the Brotherhood just so happens to be in the audience. As the show progresses through some classic, yet sexually suggestive, magic tricks (#DickCard), Aleksandra and Alexandra fill us in on their coming-to magic stories and why being the first female inductees into the Brotherhood is so important to them. However, slowly but surely, the cracks begin to show beneath their charming facades and we begin to see signs of serious internal conflict and repressed anger.
Like any New Work at the Fringe, The Brotherhood is not without its kinks (pun only slightly intended). There are a few moments where the comedic banter between performers Monica Bradford-Lea and Lauren Welchner and with the audience itself falls flat and the mood becomes a bit awkward. Magicians are known for their oozing sense of charisma, over-brimming confidence and their expert sense of reading a crowd, so I feel that the performers could push a bit further in this regard. Especially when a lot of the subject matter is explicitly sexual in nature, it’s important that the “hosts” of the show make their audience feel as comfortable as possible in order for them to openly and enthusiastically engage with this type of material.
However, the performers are relatively successful at making the audience comfortable enough to lull us into a false sense of security where we are then taken for sharp turns in the narrative that reveal some deeper and darker underlyings within the women’s determination to smash this particular glass ceiling. The way the performers used these moments to comment on the sexual expectations many men have of women is particularly clever and really encourages you to reflect on how women have often been used as accessories to, usually, older male counterparts.
Additionally, the magic itself is actually pretty impressive for two performers who are not (correct me if I’m wrong) actually magicians and they’ve managed to nail the sleight of hand tricks peppered throughout the show. The tricks themselves might not be anything new, but the erotic spin is certainly cause for some serious LOLs. The condom-over-the-glass trick had everyone in stitches, though, my favourite trick had to be where the Double Aces correctly revealed one participant’s secret card and it turned out to be, not an actual card in a traditional deck, but the “Dick Card” the magician’s had personalized for a completely different trick.
I definitely recommend seeing this show. It’s another strong offering from two local female performers who have a very strong and defined perspective. I can only imagine this show getting stronger as it gains steam through the festival, so make sure you don’t miss it!
by Monica Bradford-Lea and Lauren Welchner
Presented by Spicy Day
BYOV C: Knot Project Space