Last show of the night on a long, long day of Montreal Fringe show-surfing. Trust me, a seven show day (with a whole mess of review writing sandwiched in there) will make anyone long for the comfort of their palatial hostel bed. But I already had my ticket, the show sounded cool, and what the Heck, who needed sleep anyhow? I hear it’s just a passing fad, like pogs or something. Remember pogs? I bet you don’t.
So off I shlepped to the Montreal Improv for the third time that day for Wolfinger productions’ THE SHADOW WALTZ. Summoned together from the mind of performer/creator Lar Vi, and directed by Marc Rowland, this show would have to be something special just to keep me from dozing off, the way I was feeling. After it was over, I had such a second wind I walked across town and partied for another few hours. Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the magic at the Montreal Fringe, and it was hiding in the shadows the whole time.
A wonderful blend of kitsch, cabaret and heart, SHADOW WALTZ first introduces us to Lar’s fantastical alter-ego, the flamboyant host of the ‘Shadowtime’ and our guide to an entrancing new world. The show takes us on a bizarre journey with dancing chairs, rebellious bees and timid worms, as well as Lar’s own personal struggle to get where she is today. Featuring the kind of ‘so simple it’s brilliant’ illusions that make your jaw drop open even while you’re smiling, an assortment of inspired, weirdo characters and fantastical storylines, and a host you will never forget. The use of light and shadow, too, is just as wicked fun as thee title implies. Lar’s strong background in sketch comedy and improv has clearly helped turn her into a perfectly goddam wonderful performer, ever engaging, weird when she wants to be and down to Earth when she needs to be. She had the late night crowd eating out of her finely gloved hand, and my only complaint is that I wished there had been even more show to love.
So yeah, that ended my second day on a very high note, and it had been a great day of shows to begin with. Here’s hoping Miss Lar has a terrific run. And also hoping she considers a run to Ottawa Fringe in the future, because this is one show I’d love the chance to see again some day. Keep cool in the Shadowtime, everybody. Peace, love and soul,
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