Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: (Ottawa) A Mind Full of Dopamine (Fringe)


by Jim Murchison
Twitter @JimMurchison

Rory Ledbetter is certainly among the most engaging and upbeat performers at this year’s Fringe. Very often a play that is about addiction shows people at their very bottom robbed of their dignity and generally brings the audience so down that they shut themselves off before they learn anything about it.

Ledbetter takes you through the rite of passage into manhood that gambling is and the brain induced chemical high, that surge of dopamine. It is the same high that thrill seekers who bungee jump or take a ride on a roller coaster feel. It is appropriate because at the crest of every peak there is a descent.

The approach is so successful because Rory is so completely honest and heartfelt that the audience quite literally gasps and cries, “Oh no.” when they feel he is on the wrong path.

By choosing not to preach and by exploring every sinew and nerve, and exposing his heart and soul he ultimately makes the show about perseverance and recovery and reaches into the hearts of the audience as well. This is an incredibly entertaining show and an important one as well. By the way with a last name like Ledbetter you might imagine he plays harmonica and you’d be right.

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