Life as a Pomegranate (Broadview Laundry Mat Theatre Company) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

pomegranateLife as a Pomegranate, which plays at a laundromat as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is an experience.

Yes, yes, okay, fine: you’re in a laundromat, with four strangers, all nervously avoiding eye contact while the denizens of the Annex attend to their socks and panties. It’s not what theatre usually feels like.

But more importantly, as Royzee Fudge (Dawna J. Wightman) explains, this is about you. She’s going to get on stage and “open her flap”: reveal something of herself to us. She’s going to tell us secrets, teach us songs, let us poke the big blue bouncing ball that resides somewhere near her heart–and hope that, in doing so, she’ll inspire us to open up ourselves.

This isn’t therapy, nor is it audience participation: you’re perfectly welcome to sit back and passively take it all in. But as a premise for a show, it’s damn ambitious–and damn successful.

This wasn’t my first trip into the world of Royzee Fudge, but the return visit was very much worthwhile. Wightman plays at least a dozen characters, each with a distinctive voice and manner; I enjoyed the haughty Sutton, and I always find Slow Mo to be likeable and engaging, but Wightman’s at her absolute best when channelling her own inner demons in a performance that must be seen to be understood.

And things have changed since the version I saw; strong passages strengthened and emphasized; weak material cut or strengthened. A little more closure to the ending, a little more meat in the middle, and a little more of Royzee simply being herself.

I found Wightman, hair in wild tangles and dressed in a coat of many-pockets,  to be charismatic and–above all–driven. The intensity of her gaze did sometimes feel unnerving, but that’s the point: in her gentle, endearing way, Royzee is challenging you. Urging you. Trying to force you to become something bigger, bolder, more creative than you are.

More than anything else in the world, she wants you to open that flap.

And I wasn’t kidding when I said this is an experience.

So go on. What colour is your ball?

Life as a Pomegranate plays at the Ulster Coin Laundry. (202 Lippincott St.)
Remaining Performances
  • July 05 08:00 PM
  • July 06 08:00 PM
  • July 07 02:00 PM
  • July 09 08:00 PM
  • July 10 08:00 PM
  • July 11 08:00 PM
  • July 12 08:00 PM
  • July 13 08:00 PM
  • July 14 02:00 PM
  • This venue only seats 5 people. Advance purchase is strongly advised.
  • Tickets for all Site-Specific productions are $10 at the door, cash only.
  • Advance tickets are $11, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062 ext. 1), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West)
  • Money-saving value packs are also available; see website for details.
  • LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Image of Dawna J. Wightman provided by the company.