After a tiring night of Fringe and reviews, and an even more tiring day of work, I was hard pressed to convince myself to get out to any shows this Sunday. Remember when I could see 4 a day and keep on trucking? Yeah, me neither. And yet, with a little gentle encouragement from the Otter, I shlepped my way down to Arts Court for one late night show to cap off the weekend. Because even when you’re a sleepy little monkey, a little Fringe can liven things right back up in a hurry.
And if it was a jolt of energy I was after, well, I couldn’t have picked a better show to catch than MEATBALL SEANCE from John Michael Plays. Kicking into gear with a beauty of an opening shot and a killer tune, the show is in essence a most earnest attempt on John Michael’s part to introduce his beloved new boyfriend to his even more beloved Mother. Problem being, his Mother has already passed on…but maybe cooking her famous meatballs live on stage will be just the necessary mojo to bring her back for a visit…
Absurdity and audience participation (very skillfully and respectfully managed, I must say) follow in a show that takes perfectly timed leaps between merrily sexually explicit and heart-tuggingly real. The fourth wall is often discarded to excellent effect, with plenty of genuine laugh and cheer moments throughout, and all courtesy of the not-so-secret weapon at it’s considerable heart, John Michael himself. An explosion of attitude and inventiveness, John Michael is an unstoppable force on stage, an energy drink given human form who couldn’t operate at anything less than full power if his life depended on it (or, you know…that’s my first impression). It’s an infectious energy, and I can’t imagine coming out of this particular seance feeling anything less than pumped the hell up for whatever comes next. And I feel sorry for that whatever, because this is one hard act to follow. Meatball Seance plays at Art Court Theatre for the rest of fest, and you can get tickets at the Ottawa Fringe website here. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)