Review: An Especially Maude-Lynne Xmas: A Reluctant Wassail for Yuletide Misfits (Nobody’s Business)

Everything about An Especially Maude-Lynne Xmas is perfect at Toronto’s Videofag

I’m going to spoil my review: everything about An Especially Maude-Lynne Xmas: A Reluctant Wassail for Yuletide Misfits is perfect, and you should see it.

Open a new tab, go to the box office, and buy your ticket now. I won’t tell you twice.

Well. I will. In fact, I’ll tell you repeatedly. Because, as I said, this show is perfect.

From the very second that Maude-Lynne (embodied by Morgan Norwich) steps into the room, something truly wonderful begins to flow. Maude-Lynne is every 12-year-old goth’s dream of adulthood: independent, artistic, dramatic, brooding, faintly sinister, highly charismatic and impossible to ignore.

This character is so charming and engaging that I would quite happily watch her play scrabble for hours at a time, but Norwich and her co-creator Johnnie Walker have spun us something even better. Maude-Lynne spends her 90 minutes gleefully making her audience sing, dance, act, pedal, drink, unwrap, improvise and—above all—laugh.

And these are the best kinds of laughs: the humour throughout is clever, original, and biting—but never bruising. The parody is often hard-edged, but always affectionate, and there’s just enough silliness and absurdity to keep it from hitting too close to home.

That may be the most remarkable component of the Maude-Lynne character and of the show that frames her. Everything structural about this piece is ridiculous: as outlandish, stark and jagged as Maude-Lynne’s amateur gothic makeup. If you think too hard about any of it, the entire show crashes to the ground. But the energy that Norwich brings to the role, the wit and sparkle of the writing, the engagement of the audience in the performance and the sheer warmth of the exercise keep us sky-high.

Everything about this show, this performance and this creation as a whole is just right, and it’s a pity that – due to the pop-up nature of the production – only a few dozen people will get to see it.

Norwich and Walker have done incredible things with this opportunity, and I can only hope that Maude-Lynne will continue her return engagements or, as she puts it, sitting astride her bicycle, her head pulled back and mischief in her eyes, “Huzzah! Let the strange journey commence!”

As an aside, be advised that Videofag not only serves eggnog during this performance, but isn’t averse to tippling a little rum into the glass upon request.

Bring a friend. Bring a lover. Bring your mother. But, above all else, go: go and see this wonderful, wonderful show. Just go.

Details

  • An Especially Maude-Lynne Xmas: A Reluctant Wassail for Yuletide Misfits is playing through December 22nd 2012 at Videofag. (187 Augusta, in Kensington Market.)
  • Performances run nightly at 8 PM.
  • Tickets are $15. (Additional charge for online orders.)
  • Buy advance tickets online. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at Videofag immediately before the performance.
  • Stick around afterwards for a free screening and holiday party!

Photograph of Morgan Norwich by Greg Wong.

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