Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) Barely Even There (Fringe)

Love Lost to the Work Cellphone
by Jim Murchison

Barely Even There has some good music and a theme of love fading as the competing pressures of providing interfere with the simple joys of the family; the alienation of wife and daughter overwhelm a husband and father to the point where all three feel under-appreciated or ignored. 

The play is written by J.P. Chartier who plays Chris, the husband and father. He is quite believable playing an anglophone attracted to the lovely rural French Canadian Amy played by Maude Thennon-Richard. They are blessed with a beautiful daughter Grace played by Camille Simard-Langlois. 

Both women are quite good interacting with each other and Chartier. There is a playful sensuality that Thennon-Richard has when courting that makes her anger born out of frustration and love work very well. Simard-Langlois has a smile and glow in her eyes that hits the back row and lights up the theatre.

Vocally however the women seem to have difficulty placing their breath to pull full value from the songs. The accompaniment on keyboard which was not played loudly was still clearer than the vocal and words were missed. 

At another point the accompanist left so that Chartier could sing a cappella. It's not a bad idea to do a song unaccompanied. It can add a sense of drama and loneliness except it looked like he was going on a bathroom break and actually pulled focus from the song. He was back three minutes later and it created the same effect.

I honestly don't know whether this was directed by the cast (some reference material I searched for suggested that but I don't know). 

I think it needs a third eye and some tightening to achieve the heart-wrenching potential it is looking for.

runtime: approximately 60 minutes with no intermission
Barely Even There is at the Ottawa Fringe

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