Express Yourself (Events in Real Time) 2011 SummerWorks Review

If nothing else, Express Yourself, is a perfect showcase for the many talents of Liz Peterson. She gets to act, sing, dance, be funny, be sincere and she does all of it really well. Luckily there is something else too. This is a charming show that has some wonderfully inventive moments and definitely something for every musical theatre fan out there. I think it is a neat concept to have an opening monologue with the actor standing behind a screen, talking into a camera that is projecting that film onto the very screen she is standing behind. Maybe it is because I have just seen a slew of one person shows at the fringe but it was nice to see it done so differently.

I felt it to be a commentary on how multi media shows are becoming more prolific and perhaps about creating a different relationship with the actor and the audience. She was more exposed and vulnerable to me because I could see every detail of her face than if she had been standing right in front of me.

As the show really doesn’t have a story, it is much more about the process they undertook to create something, it is lucky that Liz is so watchable, everything just slightly underplayed with a sincerity and truth that is palpable. She can change characters by a look, a voice or her hair. The memories she triggers will be personal to everyone who sees the show, she made me think of my own father and my first experience at seeing a big production.

There are also some really nice moments of comedy, especially when she talks about the title of the show. I did find some of the moments to be a little too long or a bit repetitive but that is my only complaint.

The whole piece has been gently directed by Sean O’Neill and it is clear that these two have a pretty special connection. I loved the simple way in which she changed from scene to scene, her dancing and the use of the camera, especially when her legs under the screen are moving in a different direction to her body on the screen. All of these moments added individual nuances to a performance that could have been a typical one woman show.

And if nothing else, the final number is pretty spectacular.

Express Yourself is playing at Hub 14 on Markham Street at Queen

Friday August 5th 7:00 PM
Saturday August 6th 7:00 PM
Sunday August 7th 3:00 PM
Tuesday August 9th 7:00 PM
Wednesday August 10th 9:00 PM
Thursday August 11th 7:00 PM
Friday August 12th 9:00 PM
Saturday August 13th 5:00 PM
Sunday August 14th 5:00 PMAll individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)– Several money-saving passes  are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows