Although ELLAmentary is not drastically different from other awkward puberty coming of age stories, I found it funny, sweet and among the more lovably quirky tales.
Written and performed by Christine Aziz, this one-woman show is performed at the Annex Theatre, by a highly energetic, oddly mature “Ella Salmon” (nicknamed “Salmon-Ella” and other bacterial forms by meaner kids at school).
Touted as a “One Person Musical About Filling Out and Fitting In”, we follow Ella in what is to be her year – a year in which she achieves the popularity she has always coveted.
It is peppered with surprisingly soulful song, witty lyrics, dance and a peppy early 90s wardrobe with a surprising amount of variety for a 45 minute show.
We were all adolescents once, many of us socially anxious, hoping for that crush of the moment to like us back, trying to find our fashion footing, and overcoming the changes (or the lack thereof) of puberty.
I definitely found myself looking back to that one major school dance that seemed incredibly important, that feeling that I didn’t quite fit in, and seeking wisdom from what are probably questionable sources (i.e. Ella’s beloved YM Magazine).
Ella interacted with the audience, dancing with us, really connecting with us. Although there is a need to suspend disbelief (she is clearly too old to be in elementary school), I found I grew to believe in her, and sympathize and identify with her as if she were a friend or a younger sister.
If not unique, the show truly felt like the theatre version of the romantic comedy – a whole lot of fun, and incredibly heartwarming. All in all, Ella, like any other girl or boy her age, is trying to figure out who she is, and to grow into and accept herself. Will this year truly be different? You will have to watch the show to find out.
– ELLAmentary plays at The Annex Theatre at 730 Bathurst Street
– It plays at the following times:
Thu, July 7 8:15 PM
Sat, July 9 5:15 PM
Sun, July 10 4:45 PM
Mon, July 11 2:45 PM
Tue, July 12 10:30 PM
Thu, July 14 Noon
Sat, July 16 7:30 PM
– 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