Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: (Winnipeg) The Pit (Fringe)

Staring Into the Abyss
by Edgar Governo

Martin Dockery is a masterful storyteller when crafting a monologue, but this two-hander with Vanessa Quesnelle reveals that he might be better off staging shows on his own.

This isn't meant to detract from Quesnelle's talent on display here or her easygoing chemistry with Dockery, but their styles seem to come from two entirely different schools of acting, and the result is jarring. Although (counterintuitively) they play off each other well and have some good comedic moments, Dockery's raw manic energy was barely contained and threatened to overwhelm Quesnelle's more laidback and naturalistic charisma.

The Pit is trying for a kind of cyclical construction, but the often repetitive structure wasn't working for me. The metaphor of the titular pit--involving disconnection from the world and the soulless orthodoxy that can separate us from who we are and the people in our lives--felt both strained and obvious at the same time, stretching out 20 minutes of material into an hour through uninspired variations of that theme.

Is it surreal? Is it absurd? Are these real characters or archetypes, and who is fit for the pit? This show can't seem to decide, and didn't include enough substance to make me care about the answers.

The Pit is at the Winnipeg Fringe

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