Oh existential crises – you are great fodder for excellent theatre! When combined with a ridiculously talented performer like Jessica Moss, you give us comedic gold. Polly Polly is the funniest, most entertaining show I’ve seen this Fringe and the best one-woman show I’ve ever seen.
Polly works a mundane call centre job, lives a nondescript life, choosing instead the escapism and excitement of movies. She wakes up one morning to the sound of a narrator boisterously and forcefully invading her movie-quote filled mind, giving an account of her every move. Mean, bossy, and obnoxious the narrator delivers some of the most hilarious lines on the show, “You sound like Fran Drescher,” is one such gem.
Polly goes to work at said call centre where she is met with a shrill, nasal, Beyonce worshiping co-worker. Another round of hilarity ensues. Dialing a customer, she hears a glamorous, suave voice that says, among other tantalizing things, “I’m Polly Eschfield. I’m you. Find me.” I suppose this is the version of herself that she doesn’t see, but desires. And so she goes, finding herself, trying different avenues of self-exploration. From self-help books, to a shrink, to a yoga studio, a scene where I laughed so hard, I had to remind myself to breathe!
Our minds are tricky devils. They employ strange and unpredictable ways of protecting us, oftentimes, from ourselves. These voices could be her subconscious telling her to find within herself what is exciting and worth watching like you would a movie. An existential show is subjective, it allows us to come to our own conclusions, stretch our capacity to interpret art. Presented by a comic genius, it is a perfect way to pass an evening.
Moss plays all the characters and let me tell you, juggling three different versions of yourself in the same moment, is no small feat. Interesting thing is, I didn’t feel like it was all played by one person. The voices and caricatures were so distinct. The transitions from one caricature to the next are swift, skillful and well executed. The performance is high-energy, physical, captivating and immensely funny.
I am proud that a talent like Jessica Moss hails from this city and grateful that she has put on this show for the Toronto audience to enjoy. I am trying to look for criticisms, but can’t find any. Just when you feel like her realization is about to go off on a tangent, she reels you back in and neatly completes the show.
Polly Polly is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Ave)
July 09 10:15 PM
July 11 06:15 PM
July 12 05:15 PM
July 13 08:00 PM
- Tickets for all Mainstage 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.
Photo of Jessica Moss provided by the company