Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: (Montreal) Talk Mackerel (Fringe)

Something Fishy!
by Sarah Deshaies

I've seen MainLine's black box theatre morph into Frankenstein Place, Hedda Gabler's home and Johnny Rotten's disastrous hotel room. I've never seen it transformed into a birthday party for a young girl.

Step into the celebrations for Leslie Moira Duncanaine, a precocious young lady with a sea-flecked Eastern accent and plenty of secrets to share. Wearing a white starched dress and a conical hat, "Lemon" has her friends don party hats, too. About three dozen hatted people lined a 20-foot long table covered by a quilt at last Saturday’s first show. The effect was almost magical. 

This is all from the brain of Sarah Segal-Lazar, the writer, director, composer and little girl of Talk, Mackarel. A Montreal-raised Dome graduate who attended New York City's Tisch School of the Arts, her show emerged as a thesis project and was first presented professionally at the Dream Up Festival in NYC last year. (Full disclosure of sorts: I took part in high school theatre productions with Segal-Lazar.)

Lemon rumbles through her family problems, with breaks to eat jelly beans off the ground and play with flashlights and snorkel masks. She is accompanied by childhood friends Dunny, Albert and Mortimer. 

The show is also a musical, with pauses to sing about alphabet tigers swapping sweaters and Noah's ark. Dunny (Pierre-Luc Cauchon) plays the sax and sings, Mortimer (Jonah Carson) is on the djembe and Albert (Pierre-Alexandre Maranda) plays the double bass. Segal-Lazar sings and plays the trombone.  

Part enchanting child's story, part lush musical with indie stylings, Talk, Mackarel is a fun, evocative romp. It's a reminder that kids experience mortality, disappointment and deception as much as the grown-ups do - but coupled with wonder and appreciation.

Talk Mackerel is at the Montreal Fringe

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