TO Fringe Review: PUBLIC SPEAKING

You know, I told you people to go see this show. I told you before the Fringe even started. Judging by the very nearly sold out Helen Gardiner Phelan Theatre on Tuesday evening, it might just sell out the rest of the run, so unless you’ve got an advanced ticket it might already be too late.

And it should be sold out the rest of the way too, because this show is amazing. Chris Craddock’s new one man play starts out with him playing three seemingly unrelated characters: a heroin addict with gigantism, a young woman with a sex addiction, and a self-help guru who’s mantra is “it’s not my fault, and I don’t care anyway.” As the stories coalesce into a tale of crime, kidnapping, and the self-help guru’s seminar, you can almost forget that there’s only one person on stage. Craddock’s capacity for voices is incredible, and the sound design from Dave Clarke is amazing, even if, as Chris pointed out in the comments section of our preview, the tech for it isn’t the way they want it yet.

I’m hesitant to reveal much of the plot here for fear of giving too much away; it’s pretty intricate, and once I start writing about it I’ll probably spoil it for someone. Suffice it to say, the sex addict is the daughter of the self-help guru, and she’s the one who’s kidnapped by the addict with gigantism. There’s some ancillary characters that Craddock plays too, like the giant’s fast-talking, three-fingered boss and a police officer who gets called in to work on the kidnapping. The giant is really the hero of the story, but I thought the self-help guy was the most enjoyable. His determination to always apply his “me first” philosophy, even in the face of his daughter’s kidnapping, is so over-the-top it’s funny, and his whole method – described by the cop character as “how to be an asshole” – is hilarious. It’s also kind of discomfiting in it’s plausibility; I could actually see a self-help guru telling people that “compassion is an outdated evolutionary mechanism that has to be overcome.”

I overheard one woman leaving the theatre say she felt like she’d just seen a movie with plot twists and diverse characters. The show was a huge crowd pleaser on Tuesday night; people applauded every scene of the d√©nouement that showed where each character ended up, the last few uses of the “it’s not my fault, and I don’t care anyway” tagline had the audience roaring, and the standing ovation was long and loud. I still have “Bananenhaus” stuck in my head after last night’s Die Roten Punkte show, so I couldn’t say yet which show I like more. However, that show and this one are definitely my picks of the Fringe right now.

Posted on by Brian in Everything, Fringe, Reviews, Theatre

2 Responses to TO Fringe Review: PUBLIC SPEAKING

  1. Wade

    Spoiler alert

  2. Pingback: Preview: Toronto Fringe 2011 | The Panic Manual

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