INTERSTELLAR ELDER – Ottawa Fringe coma 2018

Getting juuuust a bit beat down with my Ottawa Fringe return-to-reviewing gig. I had indeed forgotten/blocked out what a grind it can be binging on shows, staying up late to write them up, going to work all day, repeat. And I’m not the spry young buck I was 8 years ago when I started all this! I’m, what, 8 years older now? I’m not a good mathman, but somewhere in that ballpark. So I gave myself a bit of an easy night, only scheduling one show to review…and honestly, this one was a bit of a gimme, or so I told myself. And so I was right..! Sort of.

The show, part of a triple bill for me at Arts Court Theatre that evening, was INTERSTELLAR ELDER from Snafu Dance Theatre, and featuring Ingrid Hansen. And with the words ‘featuring Ingrid Hansen’, I could mostly just stop writing this review right now and go alphabetize my comix or something, because for crying out loud, what more do you NEED? But then, come on, not everyone has followed the Snafu story like I (and a lot of people) have. Maybe some poor souls out there haven’t yet seen the legendary LITTLE ORANGE MAN, or its sorta-sequel KITT & JANE. And maybe those folks are a touch intimidated since THIS show, featuring Hansen once again as precocious Kitt Peterson, this time all grown up, is the third in a theatrical trilogy for this character. Fair enough, really. But I’m happy to allay those fears, as no pre-knowledge of the previous plays is necessary to follow the Interstellar action. This is not, I repeat NOT an Infinity War scenario (although there was one wonderful easter-egg reference to LOM, thanks to Richard for pointing it out to my slow self). I’m actually curious though to hear what the show was like from a first-Kitt-timer’s perspective!

Interstellar Elder photo credit – Laura Dittmn

The story goes essentially thus: it’s the future. Earth is uninhabitable due to a poor, but well-intentioned political decision. Humanity has abandoned the planet and headed out in frozen space-arks, keeping themselves on ice until the world can support them once again. Inside this cryogenic capsule our heroine Kitt is defrosted, to act as the custodian for the ‘human cargo’. And lets just say she stays in the position for a long, long time before a few things start to go awry, and Kitt starts acting to change her situation.

I will reveal as little more than that as possible because the act of experiencing Interstellar Elder for yourself is going to be one of the purest joys of your life. Hansen, along with her brilliant behind-the-scenes collaborators Kathleen Greenfield and Emma Zabloski have managed to take the story of Kitt, maybe one of Fringe’s most iconic and beloved characters, and push her to even greater heights of imagination and wonder than ever before. Ingrid’s physical prowess and skill are on fantastic display, as are her clowning charms which are somehow a revelation, despite having seen all of her incredible shows previous. Snazzy space costumes, a crazy bag of props, cleanliness, snippy automated systems and the occasional parasitic spore (that actually made me tear up a little), Elder’s got everything you need from a futuristic clown dramedy. Be ready to feel, be ready to smile, be ready to laugh…and be ready to run. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R (and Baby G)

PS Check out the remaining Interstellar Elder showtimes and ticket info HERE!

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