The rains had died down, beers were being had, and one more show to go for Tuesday night at Ottawa Fringe. Hanging out with West Coast celebs Ingrid Hansen and Kathleen Greenfield, we trucked over to Academic Hall for a show the both of them couldn’t push on me enough, and they’re two folks whose judgment I trust when it comes to things theatrical. Besides, I’d seen the two ladies from the upcoming show doing their cool and clever pitch in the courtyard and elsewhere, and in a Fringe year oddly jammed with shadow puppets, they looked like theirs were the shadowiest puppets of them all! Or something like that.
From Jessica Gabriel and Chloe Ziner, aka Mind of Snail puppet company, AGAINST GRAVITY is the joyously unique story of a man following his heart (and a slippery snail) wherever it leads him, from high cliffs to the bottom of the sea, and ultimately into a heated battle with that most fundamental of forces, gravity. All of this is done with no sets or even actors to speak of in the traditional sense…everything is projected onto a large screen with colourful images and shadows being deftly manipulated to create the visuals of the story, while live music and beatboxing, along with a few bits of text, flesh things out. And the audience is strongly encouraged to help out in the sound effect department for the duration of the adventure. And what an adventure it will be.
Seemingly simple in concept and yet almost unbelievable in execution…AGAINST GRAVITY is sheer unbridled fun and giddy Fringe magic. Filled with the kind of childlike wonder that must come in a bottle where the fabulously talented Chloe and Jessica come from, this is an unbearably adorable show with catchy music you’ll be humming long after you leave and filled with infectious wonder that legally qualifies as therapy. I am genuinely disturbed at the thought of a human being who can leave this show withOUT a smile on their face. My whole audience was humming, schlorping and singing along with gusto the whole while, and how often fo you get authority to DO that in public? I saw, I loved, I bought the tee-shirt. Imagination minus gravity=a show not to be missed. Peace, love and soul,