I’m certainly off my pace for seeing shows at this year’s Fringe…but then, as of day two of the festivities I’ve now taken to the stage in two performances of my own debut show THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE, so I hope can be forgiven if I’m lagging a tad on my blogging duties. Trying to make up for it here on an early Saturday off before I start up at the theatre again, and I’m happy to have a good one to write about just now. Of the four I’ve managed to see, actually, I’d have to say this one was my fav’rit. And I didn’t even understand all the words.
Tucked away in the downstairs kitchen of St.Pauls on Cumberland (where Two Little Birds played at last year’s SubDevision), Edward Allan Baker’s DOLORES from Broken Turtle Productions is probably the most intimate affair the Fringe has seen in a good long while. The audience sits in the room for this French-language production starring Martine Roquebrune as Sandra and Nancy Kenny (who also translated the play into French herself) as the title character. Nancy’s ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL pal Tania Levy directs, and the result is something incredible. My French is still a tad rusty despite all my franco-theatre outings, but the story follows fastidious Sandra as she receives a sudden, frantic visit from her sister Dolores, who is hiding out from her abusive husband. Amidst reflections and recriminations over Jos Louis’ and coffee, a few awful secrets are brought to light, and the real reasons for Dolores’ sudden visit hit home.
Dramas aren’t always a big draw at the Fringe, but DOLORES proves why that’s a dumb thing indeed. At a short-ish runtime of just over half an hour…which is perfect, because in that reach-out-and-touch-the-actors space there isn’t even room to squirm in your seat when things get dire…this show packs the emotional wallop of shows three times its length. Martine Roquebrune is an absolute revelation as Sandra, and if she and Nancy Kenny don’t have you fighting off tears at the end then you may very well lack the capacity to cry. They work wonderfully together, sharing sweet sisterly moments as well as some all-too-real sibling rivalry. Kudos to the brilliant and risky choice of venue, a site-specific microcosm that fits the show to a T. It has a ton of shows left (see the link below) so there’s no excuse to miss one of the most heartwrenching and beautiful shows the Fringe is likely to see this year. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)