Well, this was it. That terrible sinking feeling was creeping up on me, and not even that goddamned delicious veggie sandwich from Pitarifique could stave it off for long…the end of Fringe was here. I mean, not the end of the Montreal Fringe Festival itself, of course, just my allotted time in my all-too short excursion to her theatrical shores. I had done my show-to-show sprints, collected my flyers and cars, written reviews and partied, but it was now all down to one last show before I returned home. How would I do it? How could I quite you, Montreal Fringe?? Best, I figured to get some advice on the subject from an expert.
Off and upwards, then, to the Montreal Improv theatre for THE QUITTER from Al Lafrance, the beard himself, well-known to Montreal Fringe crowds as not only a superfan and former General Manager, but also from his other show BANANRAMALLAMADINGDONG with sketch comedy group Flapjack Cadillac, currently punching people in the face with funny just down the road. But for this show, Al flies solo, telling the story of his own long road to where he is today, starting in the halcyon mini-golf legends of ancient Aylmer, Quebec. A successful start in life as a top student slowly starts to give way to other urges…like, say, having friends instead of straight A’s. Warned all his life against being a quitter, Al suddenly finds himself leaving jobs and questioning his college career, panicking about what this means to his future all the while.
Al’s journey from struggling student to Fringe performer is an easily relatable one, and Messr.Lafrance has an easygoing and natural storytelling charm that immediately brings the audience in and gets them rooting for him. He tells his story without unnecessary embellishment…donut club kinda speaks for itself, after all. There’s lots of laughs, some disturbing bumps in the road, and above all, truth. This is a guy just telling it like it was, and why it is the way it is now, and the time breezes by while you’re listening. Al mentions at one point a pivotal trip to Victoria for their Fringe Festival, which is where I first made his acquaintance. I’m happy to have been there for that part of his path, and even gladder to have been in the audience last night, to see where it’s brought him. Which is right where he clearly belongs. Peace, love and soul,