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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Upshot (Fringe)

by Janis Kirshner

Our national, local treasure, the National Theatre School, continues to produce/offer fine actors, writers, directors and teachers. The Upshot, a triple-solo show, is a case in point. This is the group’s ‘upshot’; the outcome of their three years at NTS. Despite being recent graduates, Flora Quintus, S├ębastien Heins and Nico Racicot have the chops to deliver.  Okay, in all honesty, I wasn’t convinced when I booked my ticket, but with Jody Essery and Adam Lazarus in command, I should have known better. Flora’s Herman is a ‘transmutational’ love story about a woman falling in love with a chair. We see the arc of the relationship from early lust (quite imaginative!) through the getting-to-know-you phase (his baby photo is in the Ikea catalogue), to frustration: “Sometimes I feel like I’m living with a desk or a lamp.” Odd? Yes, but it held me and I kinda liked it.
Next up was S├ębastien’s Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera. I could watch this guy move all night. He reads strong, sensitive and passionate while spouting hip-hop vulgarities and obscenities; all in the name of the game of course and not gratuitous.  I mostly liked the story of two hip hop performing brothers, Cash Money & Money Pussy and their subsequent falling out.  Beautifully crafted lyrics though the singing was just okay. But ooooh the ‘dance’…
Nico’s bilingual Geranium played like a slice of Balconville - opening with yelling at the neighbour’s Chihuahua pooping on his geraniums.  But this is a multi-cultural neighbourhood and the slurs spared no one, not even ‘Les Casseroles’, with one showing up at 8am instead of pm. Racicot knows how to take an audience along for a ride, and he’s a sight out there on his precious lawn space with his too-big glasses, long johns, open bath robe and QC great accent . But he ‘get it’ and we see the heart of gold who wishes everyone could just get along. I wouldn’t want him for a neighbour, but I’d enjoy visiting a friend who lived next door and gawk for a while.
I like that at the end, they asked anyone in the audience if they had a show to promote.

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