Waiting for André (Hard Times) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Amber Landgraff

I went to see Waiting for André, written and performed by John Arthur Sweet, on Monday. I wanted to like the performance, with its gentle romantic storyline, and an endearing performance by Sweet, but I’m starting to think that one-man shows may not be my kind of thing.

It is extraordinarily difficult to write and perform a one-man show, so kudos to Sweet for taking on the difficult task. For all intents and purposes these shows involve one actor catching and keeping the attention of an audience for 60 minutes.

From the get-go Sweet establishes that this story, looking back on his 20’s, is going to jump back and forth between a description of his first paid gig as a professional actor, and three life-changing meetings that he had with the titular character André.

Personally, I like when monologue shows feel natural and unrehearsed, like the actor is having a conversation with the audience. Sweet wrote in some attempts at making the story feel more conversational, but I felt that even those moments were a little too rehearsed for my tastes.

I also spent a lot of the performance thinking that it would have made a very nice written piece, but that it didn’t translate well into a dialogue. I found the use of certain words jarring, as I couldn’t imagine someone actually using them in conversation.

While Waiting for André may not have been my cup of tea, if you do enjoy one-man shows, and are willing to look past a little awkwardness, I think you’ll find some little moments of beauty in the story.

Details

Waiting for André Venue 6 The Solo Room

60 min.
Wed, June 30 10:00 PM – 603
Fri, July 2 8:15 PM – 610
Sat, July 3 6:45 PM – 613
Mon, July 5 5:45 PM – 621
Tue, July 6 10:15 PM – 627
Wed, July 7 4:45 PM – 628
Thu, July 8 6:15 PM – 633
Sun, July 11 2:15 PM – 645

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows