Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: (Toronto) You Won't Be Here (Tomorrow) (Fringe)

You Might Want to Stop By Here Tomorrow
by Jason Booker

Get past the slightly pretentious and unexplained bracketed title of You Won't Be Here (Tomorrow), a site-specific show at this year's Fringe, and discover that it is a pretty decent show worth seeing. 

No, not for the director's work, which helps disguise some of the script's flaws by keeping the pace of the show brisk. Unfortunately the work of Carrie Adelstein cannot hide that the script reaches backwards a few times too often instead of living in the moment. Very little initiates the action of the play - Simone comes to check up on her sister Julie who has recently left rehab. They dig up the past and refuse to move forward. Occasionally this results in two actors staring out at the audience talking at each other, instead of to, informing the audience of details that they both know. Adelstein also should have known that a violent climax would need a trained fight director to pass muster in such a small space.

No, not for James Fanizza's script which becomes melodramatic and overwrought, which pulls out lots of sitcom-style sister bonding moments with added elements of an over-the-top drama and some clich├ęd family histories. 

No, not even for the unique site of the play because it isn't all that original. While the space is used well to create an intimate and dirty apartment - helped by the sounds of overflowing eaves from the heavy rain that day, broken toilets and a few fruit flies during the performance this reviewer saw - the fourth wall remains intact within this walk-up communal arts loft. It would be interesting to see this in a theatre or on film instead, it could work. 

Instead go see this show for the committed, honest and passionate performances. Julie Lemieux (Julie) is utterly fantastic, mesmerizing in the role. Completely real, she has lived this life and brings her experience with her; this is a damaged character that the actor disappears into completely with her messy hair, snarling voice, protruding jaw and lovely smile. Although Karen Ivany portrays a strong sparring partner for Julie as well, taking a bad wig and a housewife persona to the nth supportive degree and never afraid to launch into her own attacks. Strong exterior, vulnerable underneath, these two ladies make (Tomorrow) something to stop by tonight.

You Won't Be Here is at the Toronto Fringe

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