My last show of day one of the Ottawa Fringe of 2014 is always a bittersweet affair. The first ‘end’ of the Fringe, you know? Okay, it’s only the first day that’s over, but that means ONE LESS DAY of Fringe to enjoy this year. Maybe I think too much, I know, I know. Or maybe I should just try extra hard to enjoy that last show of the day. Lucky for me that was pretty damn easy in this case.
Presenting in my fav’rit Fringe venue, Studio Leonard-Beaulne, WOMEN WHO SHOUT AT THE STARS is the creation of acting legend Carolyn Heatherington, who wrote and stars in this autobiographical piece, her first Fringe show at age 81. The story follows Carolyn’s outspoken mother Gwendolyn, who knew plenty of romance, adventure and tragedy in her long life. We also meet Edie, Carolyn’s Nanny growing up and lifelong friend, as well as Carolyn herself as she weathers the storms caused by her Mother’s turbulent life.
Urged by none other than Judith Thompson to write a show about her Mother’s life, and directed by Kathryn Mackay, this is a bloody masterful show, and I was completely absorbed within the first minute. Heatherington (who is way, way cooler than you) is just flawless in her performance, effortlessly slipping into different characters at different ages, drinking, dancing and keeping the audience entranced every glorious step of the way. It’s a fascinating story, following several wonderful women, ranging from remarkable to perfectly average, but both completely engaging. This is an Actor’s Fringe show if ever I’ve seen one, and it couldn’t have a better person for the job. We really, really should not get to see performances this good at Fringe prices, so pay attention and get a ticket now. This is a bit of magic, folks. Peace, love and soul,