With a name like Eat, Poo, Love (Squint & Grunt Productions), I have to admit it was hard for me NOT to see this Fringe 2012 show. The synopsis for this show read “this true story is full of shit.” And full of shit it was…literally.
Although I was very nervous about the bathroom humour element, (I once watched an episode of King of the Hill which was almost entirely about the Dad trying to poop) it was less American Pie than I feared.
It featured the type of very real life humour that occurs in our every day challenges. Staged in the Randolph Theatre, and in this protagonist’s example: the very real funny moments that pepper an otherwise traumatizing experience of being diagnosed and treated for cancer.
The really tough thing about reviewing a show you absolutely loved is the urge to tell others absolutely EVERYTHING – “and then they did this! And this! And my very favourite part was THIS!!!” I am fighting that urge right now – and I’m going to hold back – because I want you to be as surprised and delighted as I was.
Dan Mackay (who adapted real-life survivor Paul Clement’s Blog for stage) plays a piano tuner, who later becomes known as “Patient Q”. He finally agrees to get a rectal exam at his wife’s insistence. When he is diagnosed, predictably his life changes.
The set is composed of two items: a piano (as befitting a tuner) and a toilet bowl – together the two most important elements of this man’s life. The cast of four plays seven separate characters, which was smoothly executed.
There is no Shakespearean or Hollywood drama here – this is real stuff. They do stress the importance of making the most of life, but a subtle undertone relates more to our awareness. We all talk openly about breast cancer and leukemia, but nobody wants to go into rectal detail. Perhaps if more people were open about it it would get caught earlier and hopefully save lives.
What is absolutely magnificent about this show is how Clement’s personality shines through. His viewpoint is honest and charming, if not a little bewildered. Watching the show made me feel like I was reading his journal.
There is nothing better than feeling like you are connected to the show, and (experiential differences aside) know where it’s coming from. Yes, obviously many will not be able to relate to the experience of being diagnosed with cancer, as Ed Sahely, show director writes in the program: “Humour is such a good coping mechanism when dealing with trying circumstances.” And all of us, at some point or another, face enormous challenges of our own.
– Eat, Poo, Love plays at Venue 4 Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst
– Show times: July 06 05:15 PM, July 07 07:30 PM, July 10 09:00 PM, July 11 12:00 PM, July 12 11:00 PM, July 14 05:45 PM, July 15 01:45 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 – $9 + $2 service charge)
– Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows