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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Austen For the Attention-Impaired (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Émilie Charlebois

Although this show and its brief synopses of Jane Austen’s repertoire are meant for the attention-impaired, it was pretty slow and awkwardly paced. The time allotted to every novel was unevenly distributed and there were way too many transitions within each snippet where Tali Brady and Pat Di Iorio continuously came and went from the stage or slowly walked up to their instruments, fixed their mics… The musical numbers, including the rapping, made the whole thing feel like a bit of an amateur talent show. It was very patchy and there were too many dead silences. The different styles with which they tried to summarize each work (e.g. Star Wars, Seinfeld, Variety Hour, etc.) weren’t fully fleshed out, nor did they add to the storytelling. Di Iorio is noticeably more comfortable on stage than his partner and there was no chemistry between them. A supposed romantic past between the two characters is awkwardly revealed at the very end and it’s totally unconvincing. The pair of them came off as a nagging brother-sister duo. Even when feelings were acknowledged, instead of the obvious passionate kiss (this is Austen after all), we got a fraternal shoulder squeeze. Overall, Austen For the Attention-Impaired was very nerdy (in an endearing way) and cute. It started out fairly strong with Pride and Prejudice and then had some brief moments afterwards. I do think that Jane Austen aficianados may appreciate it a bit more than I did. Based on the audience’s enjoyment I assume it just wasn’t my type of show.


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