London Fringe – REVIEWS!

I’ve been out to see and review a few shows on behalf of Theatre in London, and here is what I have to say about each. I hope you are enjoying the Fringe so far. What have you seen, and do you agree or disagree with my reviews?

Don’t forget, you can find my reviews and more on the London Fringe website. I will be reviewing more throughout the week, so be sure to check back soon.

Desperate Church Wives

A full house and a standing ovation were both well deserved for this incredibly well written and performed show. Diane L. Johnstone is brilliant as she brings six different characters to life in just 55 minutes. Her character transitions are seamless and the audience responds to each character as if they are really sitting in a church meeting by singing, clapping and bowing their heads in prayer. It was almost a spiritual experience for me and the message was powerful: We all deserve unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and freedom from judgment. See this show. Its brilliance in writing and acting is unparalleled.

TIP: if you sit near the front, you just might get a cookie from Grandma Word. But I guarantee you, that isn’t all you will get from her. Enjoy!

Grade 8

I have just one complaint about this show: there were not enough bodies in the seats on its opening night. This is a show that deserves to have a packed house and if you miss it, you really are missing out.

I don’t think I have seen such a sincere and moving show in all of my Fringe experience. Perhaps I find it relatable as the mom of a 12 year old girl, but even in the absence of being able to relate I would have been moved by the raw honesty of the subject, which is a simple story that describes the emotions of love and loss, and how our fears are rooted in love.

Dwayne Morgan is an extremely talented spoken word artist and his timing and delivery of Grade 8 was impeccable. I really hope this show gets the audience it deserves this week at Fringe. Bravo!

Care

“How did it get there?” If you’ve ever attended to the bathroom needs of a child or adult you will know that question well. Dan Ebbs successfully puts that question into a song as he recounts his time caring for his elderly parents who have Alzheimer’s.

“Care” is a little bit like a lecture or information session done in musical form which keeps it light, interesting and informative at the same time. With hilarious audience participation he demonstrates how difficult it is for a healthy mind to remember simple things: so just imagine what it is like for a mind with dementia.

Half of the proceeds of this show go to local care organizations, so seeing “Care” will make you feel doubly good. You will gain an understanding of the unsung heroes known as caregivers, and be supporting agencies at the same time. Well worth the price of admission, I’d say.

The Chronic Singles Handbook

The Chronic Singles Handbook feels like a small snapshot of a much bigger picture. A snippet into the many (mis)adventures of a chronic single. It is a funny (though at times uncomfortable) and raw piece of prose that definitely isn’t PG or politically correct, but it is certainly fun to watch. The way Randy Ross embodies his character through gestures and transitions around the stage makes him entertaining and endearing. The moral of his story came across as this: when you shake a tree you just might find nuts. It seems Randy shook the tree and found more than his share of nuts, but perhaps in the end it was his own shell he needed to crack. The Chronic Singles Handbook is a charming show that kept the crowd laughing, and is worth seeing no matter where you fall: chronically single or happily married.

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