Annette Roman’s Animal Love is billed as a comedy, but be warned: this Winnipeg fringe première will make you cry.
Despite the California actor’s love for all things furry and four-legged, this tender 60-minute show is actually about coming to terms with the deaths of (human) loved ones. In particular, it’s a beautiful tribute to Roman’s German mother — a strong woman who raised four kids largely on her own after kicking out their abusive father and for whom Annette must care at the end of her life, when we are our most primal selves.
The show starts slowly, but once it finds its rhythm, it’s an affecting bit of theatre. Roman is a deft performer; she plays multiple characters with grace and agility. But it’s her abilities as a storyteller that sell this show. She’s an evocative writer; you were in the living room with her at Christmas, you could feel the Texas heat on the porch in Dallas. The anxiety she feels when she’s trying to get home to her mother from Edinburgh is palpable.
Animal Love is an emotional, raw nerve of a show — the star herself was in tears by the end. Bring Kleenex.
— Jen Zoratti