GOOD FRIDAY (MUSIC AND MADNESS)
The Playhouse Studio (Venue 3) until July 28.
U.K. native David Parkin jokingly refers to his one-man show (his first) as a "clinical depression concept album." And indeed, he unspools his song-cycle chronicling his battle with "the black dog" and his ongoing recovery through the healing powers of music and humour. His big-hearted agenda is to turn the taboo about discussing depression into art. His gentle, soft-spoken manner is both breathtakingly funny and heartbreakingly eloquent. The songs, particularly Scrabble For Beginners and Tonight the Stars, have a genuinely moving power that comes from their rawness and simplicity.
About halfway through the show, he informs the audience they're sitting through a one-hour therapy session, but we're the ones who are paying for it. Considering what a open-hearted and engaging performer he is, we still end up getting more than our money's worth. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
-- Ben Wiebe
STRANGE DAY AT THE FRINGE
Playhouse Studio Theatre (Venue 3), to July 27
HARRY Butt (Chris Reid) doesn't like the fringe. All he wants on this fine Saturday morning is to watch sports in his Charleswood home and read vintage comics. Why would he want to watch a "bunch of wannabe actors" getting up there to do their thing, he plaintively asks?
But his wife Rachel (Richelle Starke) insists they go see neighbour Carol perform, and the result is a mildly amusing one-hour adventure for the reluctant suburbanite in the Exchange -- including close encounters with a drunk panhandler (Brett Buckingham), a homeless woman (Evelyn Darrach) and an inept street performer (Sam Kowaluk). This original show, written by Denis Thornton, stars an all-local cast of eight, and has a surprise twist.
So... why would you want to see this bunch of wannabe actors? To support local writers, original work and acting troupes like this one. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
-- Margo Goodhand