Bloody Underrated: B.U. Does FRINGE: Entry #12 (Blink Blink Blink, Peter & Chris, Remember Ezra)
Blink Blink Blink
For days and days, I'd been hearing people talking about Blink Blink Blink, and had not heard a single negative comment. Eternally skeptical, I vowed not to raise my expectations too much when i finally got a chance to see the show, to try to conserve my somewhat impartial judgement. My verdict? All that hype is well deserved.
Blink Blink Blink is an absolute gem. Kirsten Rasmussen takes on the role of Sara Tonin, a motivational speaker and author who is out on tour, promoting her latest book. In a parallel setting, a bunny called Benjamin is doing his best to face his fears, with no help from his two bunny friends. Oh, did I mention that all of these rabbits are also simultaneously played by Kirsten? She embodies all of characters seemingly without effort, and manages to make every one of them memorable in a different way. She plays off the crowd with ease, captivates her audience with her gripping body language, and generally puts on a fantastic show. Blink Blink Blink is an absolute must-see, I absolutely adored it, and I urge you to catch its final showings! The show's been selling out a bunch, so grab your tickets in advance, or show up hella early to snatch up the FOH tickets!
P.S.: It should be noted that the musical direction in this show is also excellent. Good job, piano man!
P.P.S.: Kirsten, if you're reading this: You win extra points for praising Smartfood popcorn. God I love that stuff.
Peter & Chris Save the World
Speaking of hyped shows, I also saw Peter and Chris Save the World that night, after hearing its praises sung by everyone from Jimmy Hogg to the guys from Men Telling Stories. I really dug the duo's onstage chemistry, first of all, and loved the way this show was written. (Favourite line: "He'll be fine...ly ground into compost! Ahahahah!") You can definitely feel the recent-comedy-film influence within these guys when you watch the way they pull off their transitions from scene to scene. It's all very cinematic in its presentation. Their capacity to mime every action and every imaginary object is uncanny, and really gives their show a movie feel. In fact, if they throw in a bit more material and re-format this, the show would probably become an instant box office hit.
The show's premise is simple, silly, and effective. Peter & Chris must save the world via the art of composting. Do they succeed? Do they get smothered in an avalanche of truthbombs? Go see their show and find out! It's going to be on the road after Montreal Fringe ends, and will be part of Ottawa Fringe next week.
P.S.: Extra points for throwing in Montreal references and scoring laughs from the locals. Cheap pops always work!
I walk into Mainline Theatre, and what do I see, once I walk past a gorgeous venue manager and a room full of recycling? I step into the actual theatre, and I see strings, running from the ceiling to some chairs, to a table, to the walls. I pause for a moment, and I think to myself: How the hell is a play going to occur amongst this chaos? And then, thanks in large part to André Simoneau, it simply does.
Remember Ezra is a story about an actor named Gideon who's trying to remember the summer his brother Ezra disappeared. The story is told with intermingled timelines, and yet is easy to follow. Ezra's character is neurotic, overdramatic, sometimes uninvolved, but always present and effective. The story has its funny bits, but it's definitely a work of drama, and is a good way to spend an hour. Again, the set itself is reason enough to see the play: its implications and applications are dead on. The recurring music is also used effectively to enhance the eerie feel of the play, which I loved.
There are two showings left, and they're worth catching if you want to see a mildly bizarre dramedy about memory and its occasional shortcomings. Do it!