One last show for opening night, after a brief sojourn to the current courtyard for a refreshment. And sure, I still miss the classic Ottawa Fringe beer tent, but I think that now just means I’m old. Outta my way, junior, I got shows to see!
In this case, it was off to the ODD Box to catch Christina Muehlberger in GOD THAT’S FUNNY, her one-woman show about growing up so Christian it hurts. Religion has always been a pretty rife subject for comedic mining, and Muehlberger clearly has both the talent and the firsthand knowledge to strip it for all its worth. She guides us merrily along through a childhood moving from church to church with her Mother, until finally landing at a dodgy youth camp as a teen, where things really get going, for good or ill. She guides us skillfully and hilariously along through all of Pastor Tim’s cool-dude sermons, much repressed teenage longings sublimated as letters to a future husband, and the finer points of busting a move while still praising the lord.
A few musical interludes are peppered throughout, and I understand we have local legend Alli Harris to thank for the instrumentals on these, along with vocals from director Emma Ferrante (note: thanks for the heads up and info, Emma!), though it ended up just being Christina onstage, but happily she’s more than enough. God may work in mysterious ways, but Muehlberger’s charm and storytelling ease are a clear match for the tale being told, weaving it with enough sly humor and earnestness that when the story takes a darker turn, it hits and hits hard. Thank goodness we have a guide like her to bring us back into the light. Very glad I made it out to this one, and from the crowd on opening night, you’d be wise to check it out sooner than later. Playing at the Arts Court ODD Box for the festival, tickets available at the Ottawa Fringe website here. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)