Just saw Chris Kauffman’s NHAR MOVES today at the Fringe, and I thought it was clownerific and fantastical. Here with a slightly more in-depth take on it is Visitorium special Fringe correspondent 2013, miss Natalie Joy Quesnel!
I have fond memories of my first time seeing Chris Kauffman on stage. It involved chucking ping pong balls at him. It was awe at first throw. I knew Ottawa audiences would be in for treat, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Kauffman is thoroughly endearing as Nhar, Paolo, and Fish (though I’ll address the latter later.) The story itself is straight-forward. A lonely and sad man meets a fish. They form a friendship that encounters its fair share of challenges which they must overcome. I’m making it sound much more dramatic than it is. Judging by today’s audience (ranging in age from 2 to 60+), there are plenty of laughs to be had here. While there’s nothing groundbreaking in the narrative, the means of storytelling are whimsical and engaging. The props and set are minimal, and they are used well. I was particularly enamored by the slide projector (perfect for sight gags and effective backdrops), as well as the segment with Kauffman enveloped in a large duffel bag. Intrigued? So was the audience!
The show was created by real-life married couple Kauffman and Emily Windover. I can’t help but wonder if their three lovely daughters had any collaborative contributions to the process. Was that a Backyardigans song I heard? While the show rolled smoothly from beginning to end, I did feel that there were certain scenes that could use tightening up rhythmically. Some of the travel bits were a bit at the mercy of the slide projector’s tempo, when they could have benefitted from a more rapid pace. And while Kauffman’s Fish character complete with flamboyant wig was entertaining to watch, the under-water sequence could stand to be trimmed slightly. It quickly became a case of too much of a good thing.
Nhar Moves is exactly what I was hoping for; an hour of laughter and slight tugging at the heartstrings. If you need more reason to see the show, here are two short reviews from my daughters:
A-J (age 5): He is silly. I liked all the moustaches.
Bea (age 4): I liked when he threw the fish across the room.
What more could you ask for?
Natalie Joy Quesnel
(Kev’s Note: NHAR MOVES only has one show left, Sunday at 3pm, so don’t miss it! And Chris Kauffman has another show, CABARET TERRARIUM with Richard Harrington, starting on Friday for a 4-show late run! Details on the Fringe website HERE!)