Marilla Wex, actor and storyteller, wants to tell you how she – a Nice Girl from Warwickshire – ended up wedding and bedding Jews until she catches up with the present day, in which she finds herself married to a real Yiddish maven (who was two seats over when I saw the opening night of Lost and Found at Theatre Passe Muraille). After this performance I am fairly certain that I would pay money to hear Marilla Wex discuss a trip to the dry cleaners. Four shows into his year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, I finally found a show I unabashedly loved.
The show is built mostly chronologically, which I typically hate, and has only a table and a small chair without a trace of set dressing for scenery, which a performer has to be tremendously confident to pull off. Both totally work. Wex uses the stage well – solo shows are rarely much for blocking, but Wex has it on lock, strongly graceful and present on the stage. The chronology unfolds, relatively unflinchingly and peppered with her observations about class and culture, takes a turn for the worse and then rebounds, just as Aristotle preferred. Nothing about it feels forced.
I also appreciated how compassionate Wex was with herself in the narrative. It’s more the current fashion in art to be rawly miserable, but her innate Britishness seems to temper this nicely and the effect is confessional but not nakedly so. The show also avoid self-pity in much the same way. As a lover of accents and dialects, I somewhat dopily adored listening to her Midlands accent gradually disappear as the show moved forward in time. The story moves at a nice clip, so much so that I never considered looking at the time. Wex is also more than loud enough, a theatrical quality I believe all Fringe-goers begin to really appreciate after a while.
All right: I did not adore the ending. It felt just a little rushed, like even a minute more of exposition would have given it the extra polish it really deserved. But this is really just fabulous, and you should go and see it.
July 03 at 09:30 PM
July 04 at 01:15 PM
July 06 at 01:00 PM
July 07 at 04:00 PM
July 08 at 10:15 PM
July 10 at 08:00 PM
July 11 at 05:15 PM
July 12 at 08:00 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.