Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: (Montreal) Untitled Sam Mullins Project (Fringe: MONTREAL, WINNIPEG, EDMONTON, VANCOUVER)

The Approachable Storyteller
by Élaine Charlebois

Sam Mullins is a good storyteller, no doubt about it. In his most recent piece, he tells his audience four stories that revolve around four truths about himself. One particularly well-crafted and amusing story is about his struggle to manage the perpetual state of panic, later diagnosed as a panic disorder, which used to loom over his life. In this story, Mullins takes us through his early acting days when he was cast in a major role in a play, only to be overcome by panic as his turn came to step onto the stage. Telling this story with great self-awareness and humour, Mullins highlights the ways in which seemingly uncontrollable difficulties can take over our lives unless we decide to play an active part in our own self-improvement.

The other three stories of Mullins’s Untitled Project were equally clever and well-written, although there seemed to be an added undertone of sentimentality to them. While many members of the MainLine Theatre audience clearly appreciated the underlying symbolism and heart-warming elements of Mullins’s stories, I discovered early on in the show that this was not my particular brand of comedy. Expecting perhaps a bit more raunch and less wholesomeness, I found that I was often waiting to see when a story would take on an unexpected and ludicrous turn. That said, Sam Mullins definitely owns the style of storytelling he has chosen and proves his undoubtable talent in this piece. Mullins’s humility and ability for self-deprecation make the Untitled Sam Mullins Project an approachable piece that is bound to appeal to a wider audience. 

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