Spent a little time tonight, in between Ottawa Fringe shows, just plugging in the computer in the hallway beside the sky lounge, getting a head start on one of my show reviews. It was a gooder, and it was in my head, so why not? Not like I was gonna go out and talk to people, heaven forfend! I may not love my alone time, but it’s what I’m good at, by gum. Or maybe I’m just lonesome out of years of bad habit, even if there’s no need for it anymore. I have my Otter, after all! But, she was long gone this evening, and soon enough I had to run off to see my next show, ironically one she had been more interested in seeing then me, and one that I added to my schedule only after the snippet of it on preview night impressed the bananas off of me.
So hooray for my surprise when I got to the ODD Box lobby and found my beloved Otter, waiting for me! She’d snuck over to see a rare late show with me as a surprise, and is one of the many reasons I have to love her. So it was hand in hand with her that I ended up going to see Steve Budd‘s WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT LOVE, a charming and clever mashup of personal storytelling and verbatim theatre. A performer out of Oakland, Budd is a 50-something man who remains unmarried, and isn’t exactly ecstatic about it. The show, centering on the search for ‘the one’ that we all hear about in the movies so much, follows two distinct paths. One is a tale from Budd’s own life, where he relates treating himself to a Mexican vacation when he hit 50, only to meet and fall head over heels with a beautiful and outgoing Kenyan fashion blogger while there. As their romance fires up, we are also introduced to a collection of real-life couples Steve has interviewed and brings to life himself, telling their own stories of how they met, and wooed, and loved, and struggled to turn that first passionate flame into a raging marriage bonfire, or something like that.
Before long there are some 10 or more characters filling the stage, all brought quite convincingly to bear by Budd with flourish and charm. His interviewees tell their brilliant, wonderful stories, ranging from a tattooed motorcycle repairman and his bike-riding gal, to a New Yorker being shocked at falling for someone from (gasp) Baltimore. As we hear from them, we see increasingly urgent updates from Budd’s own story, as his relationship with his would-be beloved hits some unexpected roadblocks. Will they overcome their differences? Will true love conquer all??
I’m a pretty big fan of verbatim theatre, and Steve Budd does it VERY well, almost uncannily so. It was a treat to watch him introduce the myriad of fantastic people he interviewed…I’ll admit I loved their bits a little bit more than watching Steve as himself, which seems a little weird to say, but that’s acting for ya. If there is a more perfect show to watch at this Fringe with your sweetie by your side, then I’d love to know what it is and I’ll book a ticket ASAP. As it is, I loved the merry Hell out of this terrifically well-produced and directed (by fellow Fringe great Mark Kenward) ode to the trials and hardships of finding ‘the one’, and I can vouch that my otter was bouncing up and down in her seat with delight when it was all over too. Steve Budd has a mittful of talent and it was on grand, big-hearted display for every moment of this show. A heartfelt, crowdpleasing gem. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)
PS Check out the rest of Steve Budd’s showtimes and ticket info HERE!