Local dancer-choreographer Paula Blair informs us in her program that her work is whimsical. Guess that’s why she hired a guy to play the manic fool in the lobby, spewing off-the-wall facts such as "Smelling bananas can help you lose weight!"
Well, fancy that. If there’s a point to this weirdness for weirdness’s sake, you won’t discover it in the cryptic Fancy That, which runs about 45 minutes and strangely has only five performances.
The piece is clearly personal, with the central Blair sometimes costumed in a girlish dress while Nicole Coppens, Helene Le Moullec Mancini and Kyla Wallace are in simple tanks and loose pants. They’re all excellent movers.
There’s a vague sense that the piece expresses the angst of the artist’s life, e.g. "I have something to say, but I can’t get it out" … "Dance is about beauty and idealized femininity, but I feel ugliness." Blair may be hinting at an eating disorder, based on the motif of retching.
But this young dancemaker mostly alienates by speaking in a highly quirky choreographic language, meaningful only to herself. Blair has cast her boyfriend, actor Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame, in the mimed role of a nerdish suitor who is downcast in the prologue and goofily upbeat in the epilogue. We’re happy for their happiness, but the effect is self-indulgent, and not clearly connected to the content of the piece.
— Alison Mayes
From the official Fringe Festival program:
A theatrical dance tale driven by its physicality and evocative emotions. From beginning to end, four powerhouse performers take you on a personal relatable journey full of sincerity. Enhanced by its sense of dark humour, this whimsical piece never loses its warmth and wit.
Choreographed by Paula Blair, featuring Nicole Coppens, Helene Le Moullec Mancini & Kyla Wallace.
RECOMMENDED: General Audience
Gas Station Theatre (Venue 18), to Sunday