I recently got the funnest, most charming press e-mail of my short non-career from a lady by the name of Chelsea Manders, about her show coming to the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year, Now, I had already planned on seeing her show, and it was on my schedule. Her e-mail was so fun I decided to rejigger things a bit and see her show two days earlier than originally planned. I owe Miss Manders a drink for encouraging me to make this wise decision.

The show, DON’T TELL MY DAD, is Chelsea’s one woman folk musical extravaganza detailing (albeit some of the details are a little fuzzy) her journey from well-adjusted upper middle class citizen to the debauched specimen she is today. Told with a winning combination of twisted and hilarious original songs, Chelsea’s brash storytelling style and laughs aplenty, this is a solid hour of risque hysterics and naughty but catchy ditties that you really kinda gotta see for yourself. Chelsea is a ball of energy on the stage, darting and dancing from one clever musical bit to the next, always with a one-liner at the ready and a song ready to go. She’s a really sharp songwriter even when going for goofy laughs…‘Existential Baby’ should already be a top-40 hit, and her musical recounting of the history of British colonialism is a seriously impressive comedy achievement. And lord knows she’s pretty handy with that guitar of hers.

Chelsea Manders in DON'T TELL MY DAD (pic by Jenifer Rowsom).
Chelsea Manders in DON’T TELL MY DAD (pic by Jenifer Rowsom).

There are a few reminiscences, costume changes and props along the way, but the heart of the show remains the hilarious Miss Manders herself, who’s ridiculously endearing while being unabashedly offensive. Imagine your manic pixie dreamgirl if she were really into burlesque and tequila shots and you’re starting to understand Chelsea Manders. I don’t know if she has CD’s, but after the show I realize I kinda want one. She’s already got a Canadian Comedy Award under her belt for her work in the joking arts, and you’d do yourself very well to hit Academic Hall up for a visit while she’s in town and see what the fuss is about. Because this lady is very much worth a fuss. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

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