Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: (Toronto) The Homemaker (Fringe)

by Colette Shaw

The Homemaker invites us into the kitchen of Franco-Canadian housewife Janet Cardinal (Laura Anne Harris, also the writer) for the cabaret she has always wanted to perform. The content of the cabaret is Cardinal’s relationships: with her husband, alcohol, and showgirls. Despite her limited experience with the performing arts living in rural Saskatchewan her whole life, Cardinal has always wanted to do a cabaret act, and now we are here to witness it!

Harris’s subtle clown and Morgan Norwich’s direction made for a magnetic performance. I fell almost instantly in love with Janet Cardinal: her shame about using her native French, her reflexive Catholicism, and her self-effacing presence in her own performance made me want to join her on her journey and also take care of her. 

I found the tone of the piece light and almost celebratory for the most part, but there is a sadder, more serious core that gradually moves to the forefront of the performance. The quiet despair at the middle of Cardinal’s life slowly emerges over the course of the show, resulting in a piece that is light and funny in parts but that I ultimately found very moving. See it if you like a little singing, a little dancing, and a lot of storytelling.

It is worth noting that there are only two more performance of this show, and that it is hard to find in the Fringe paper guide: the two remaining performances are Sunday July 7th at 8:00 pm and Thursday July 11th at 12:00 pm. 

The Homemaker is at the Toronto Fringe

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