Pitch Blond is exactly the kind of show I hope to see at the Fringe. It’s well-acted, well-written and such a stunning example of what indie theatre artists can do.
Laura Anne Harris wrote and stars in this one-woman show about 1950s screen actress Judy Holliday. Holliday was known for playing ditzy blondes, but in fact had a 172 I.Q. Her ability to play dumb came in handy when she was called to testify about her “possible Communist ties” during the McCarthy era. The production spends much of its time on this aspect of Holliday’s life, though we do get glimpses about her childhood too. (The one thing I thought was missing was any mention of her marriage or children – she had both – but I have to admit the story is pretty rich already without them.)
Harris does something quite interesting, which is to use real (or at least impressively recreated) footage from Holliday’s interviews and television appearances. It brings a very authentic feel to the show, as we listen to Holliday (Harris) chat with the likes of Bob Hope and Ethel Barrymore.
But Laura Anne Harris is the real treat in this show. Harris appears to have Holliday’s shrill voice and perky mannerisms down to a tee, and she keeps the production moving along so smoothly it seems much shorter than its 60-minute run time. (This was my fifth show of the day and I worried I might start to get restless butt syndrome, but I was glued to my seat.)
Fringe is still on for another week, but I’m pretty sure this production will hold up as my personal top pick of the festival.
Pitch Blond is playing at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto.
Showtime: 60 min.
Tue, July 12 5:15 PM 134
Thu, July 14 9:45 PM 150
Sat, July 16 9:45 PM 164
Sun, July 17 3:30 PM 168
– Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only.
– Latecomers will not be permitted.
– Tickets are also available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 or in person at The Fringe Tent (behind Honest Ed’s). Advance tickets are $11 – $10 + $1 convenience fee.
– Money saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.
Photo: Laura Anne Harris, as Judy Holliday.