Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Little Orange Man (in Montreal and Toronto this week)

Imagination Station
In the mind of a twelve-year-old.
by Keely Kwok

What do you get when you cross Anne of Green Gables and a crate full of energy drinks? Why the young Danish girl Kitt of course! 

Kitt, performed by Ingrid Hansen in Little Orange Man, is a twelve-year-old girl who’s delighted to discover the audience has answered her ad on Craig’s List and have agreed to dream with her. But! Before dreaming, Kitt has A LOT to tell you. From the territories of the playground, to songs about ADD, to a “terrapist” Quebecois puppet hippo, there are so many hysterical elements to this performance. 

Hansen is tirelessly brilliant and charismatic as a hyperactive twelve-year-old.

Dreams and stories are incredibly important to Kitt. Particularly the gruesome and often graphic folk tales – the original Danish ones of course – told to Kitt by her beloved bedstefar. (That’s grandfather in Danish. It’s okay, I didn’t know either.) Kitt finds great joy in performing these folk tales to the kindergarten class at school. 

However, in order to reenact her stories and dreams for you, Kitt must use her homemade equipment of celery, flashlights, puppets and more that would tire you out if you weren’t so busy laughing. 

And when you’re not laughing you’re crying. Kitt’s devotion to her bedstefar, expressed through song and little spoken hints along the way, comes to a climax at the very end of the play. It’s a beautifully touching moment performed without a word. 

Hansen is tirelessly brilliant and charismatic as a hyperactive twelve-year-old. Her multiple braids fly about as she bounces around the stage and up into the audience, uses countless props, and all the while keeping the physicality and mannerisms of a sixth grade, albeit juvenile, girl. There’s music, dance, audience participation, perhaps one too many fart jokes but what can you do? Kitt’s only twelve! Little Orange Man is a story about love and imagination and a reminder of youth and the power within. 

Hansen and her creative partner Kathleen Greenfield have flawlessly incorporated many performance elements and constructed a captivating, original piece of theatre. They take the audience on a seemingly random journey to remind them the importance of dreams and storytelling. As Kitt says throughout the play, “you’re dreams are more real than you think.”

Little Orange Man has concluded its run in Ottawa, however it will be performed at Centaur Theatre in Montreal Saturday, February 16 at 10:30 AM and in Toronto, February 19.

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