I think the review portion of my 2018 Ottawa Fringe coma might be coming to an end. A few more, sure, but I’m running outta steam, gang! Another 4-show night yesterday, and I’m a little late getting started on my reviews because it turns out my petty, entitled body wants sleep or some such first-world luxury. Embarrassing, I know…I hope it gets over this childish behaviour by the time I hit Winnipeg..!
So I got back to la Nouvelle Scene for a pair of shows last night, happily avoiding the rain that apparently fell while I was inside. And hooray, it was a pair of 1-woman solo shows, historically proven as my fav’rit form of entertainment. First up was a show I’d done a preview for a week and a bit earlier, Thea Fitz-James’ DRUNK GIRL. I wasn’t sure if this was a show I’d WANT to take a drink in to (and yes, you totally can at the Scene if it’s a thing you want to do), but I opted to play against type tonight, tho I did treat myself to a front row seat. There’s a full bar set up onstage and as the show begins the dynamic miz Fitz-James emerges and starts pouring drinks, getting her bar ready for the hectic night to come. After a bit of an intro from Thea, the show proper begins, and we meet the 2 characters who guide us through a sometimes funny, occasionally wild, impressively cerebral and from time-to-time heartbreaking evening. One is the titular drink girl, the girl Thea herself admits she used to be and maybe sometimes still is. College age, partying hard, trying not to sweat the vulgar frosh songs and slurs she constantly hears….they’re just jokes, right?
The other is an older woman, the woman Thea wonders and worries if she may someday become…scholarly and a bit sad, worn down in places by the word she has found herself trapped in and forced to conform to. She’s more refined and particular in her choice of cocktail now, but man does that bottle of wine start to disappear fast as the night goes on. And ass it goes on, and our heroines get a little more soused and the words start flowing as freely as the wine we learn more about why these ladies drink the way they do, how the world’s view of their drinking grinds away at them (‘How much did you have to drink?’, after all, is a question that is almost never asked without an unsubtle accusation attached), and where either of them go from here. Is feminism drinking as much as men, or what? Should you have a glass of wine at that conference? And what’s one more shot among friends (wait, where did my friends go..?) anyhow?
Filled with insight, cynicism and smarts, if this show doesn’t make you think and think hard then your brain might be on vacation. Yes, Thea does keep the proceedings from becoming too much of a tension convention with the occasional drinking game and singalong, because it’s a party, right? But there is a strong thesis at the heart of Drunk Girl, and Thea Fitz-James is clearly mad as Hell and not gonna take it anymore and thank goodness for it. This is a whip-smart show from a roaringly strong performer and it’s one you won’t soon forget, no matter how many shots you do. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)
PS Check out the rest of Drunk Girl’s showtimes and ticket info HERE!