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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Verbal Diary-ah (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Andrea Stanford's solo is a delightful way to spend 45 minutes. There's enough humour and charm in the piece so that you become the performer's accomplice. The packed house I saw it with loved her. I liked her very much. However Verbal Diary-ah is not a finished work. In the play, Stanford reads passages from the diaries of her teen years and then "speaks to" her past self. It's a brilliant idea (and surprising I haven't seen it elsewhere yet). But Stanford enjoys her anecdotes far too much (laughing at them herself) and does not realize that many of us have been there, done that and actually empathize with that clumsy, hair-bedeviled teen she was. Stanford reads the diary passages in an annoying, stereotypical voice which, while funny, feels strangely cruel too. Had she read the diaries straight, this would have been an even funnier show as nothing is quite as hilarious—or poignant—as a person taking him-or-herself far too seriously.

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