Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: (Winnipeg) Significant Me (Fringe)

(photo by Dahlia Katz)
It's Not Me, It's Me
by Edgar Governo

Significant Me is a relatively rare phenomenon at the Fringe: a straightforward sequel to Christel Bartelse's previous show ONEymoon, seen at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in 2011, with the current show revisiting protagonist Caroline as she prepares to celebrate three years of solitary matrimony after choosing to marry herself over all other potential suitors.

As befits a sequel, Bartelse structures and performs the show in more or less the same style as before, including a mild amount of audience participation. (I didn't participate this time, but I was briefly brought onstage when I went to see ONEymoon to portray the role of Caroline's sexually adventurous ex-boyfriend. There are worse fates.) The odd mishap, such as a prop going astray, is handled smoothly with no interruption to the flow of the performance, and Bartelse has an easygoing charm that always makes her watchable.

Under the surface of this play that might come across as essentially goofy are a number of themes around relationship expectations and societal pressures that will leave you thinking. The costuming and set design evoke the image of a perfect 50s housewife, which Caroline is increasingly frantic to maintain; and much like the main character in Roller Derby Saved My Soul (also playing at The Rachel Browne Theatre), she compares herself to a sister she perceives as more successful in life.

Cooking for one can still be a recipe for disappointment, and you can feel obligated to keep up with the neighbours even when you're married to yourself, but it's okay to want (at least some elements) of a traditional happy ending.

To July 17

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