by Lucy Allen
Finding a soul mate is hard work. This has been the subject matter of countless pieces of literature, paintings and rom-com films. Not only is it hard work, it’s often unrewarded and the idea of just remaining single and forgetting about all those pesky mating games can be appealing. Christel Bartelse has taken it one step further in her one person show ONEymoon, currently playing in the Toronto Fringe Festival, by declaring that she will marry herself.
The idea is a unique one, and was perhaps easier for me to relate to what with being a single girl in her late twenties who has yet to find a soul mate. Bartelse plays Caroline, a single girl tired of the dating game who decides to avoid all the struggle relationships bring and marry herself to maintain her independence. The show switches back and forth between her “wedding day” and her honey…sorry, ONEymoon.
A one person show is harder than it looks, requiring a lot of time and energy on stage. Bartelse brings a good energy and works well off of her audience. In fact, her funniest moments came from just interacting with the random strangers she would walk up to.
As the play progressed though, I felt there was something missing. It certainly wasn’t from lack of trying. Bartelse manages to incorporate rap, dance, improv and even a kareoke number into the experience, but there was a sort of lack of connection between each segment and felt at times like she was trying a bit too hard to get our attention. I think the show suffered a bit from attempting to use too many elements, and I would have liked to have seen a slightly more cohesive show using one or two of her talents strongly rather than a bunch of scattered ones.
The message also gets a bit muddled for me and falls victim to some recent rom-com cliches: that all independent and single women are neurotic, quirky and completely inept when it comes to doing simple tasks like fixing a fire alarm (mind you, I can’t fix a fire alarm…but that’s because I’m a klutz, not because I’m a woman…I hope…).
There are laughs to be had, though, and the audience was more than willing to share in them. This might be a good show to see if you enjoy the familiar message and some decent comedy, but it has the potential to go a few steps further.
-ONEymoon is playing at the 918 Bathurst Street Culture Centre
Sat, July 3 9:30 PM
Sun, July 4 2:30 PM
Tue, July 6 7:00 PM
Wed, July 7 8:30 PM
Thu, July 8 7:00 PM
Fri, July 9 9:30 PM
Sat, July 10 8:00 PM
Sun, July 11 4:00 PM
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only), Online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person (June 30 – July 11 only) at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee), and $5 for FringeKids (no convenience fee for kids tickets).
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows