Review: Emotional Creature (V-Day Toronto)

V-Day Toronto’s Emotional Creature explored the many issues concerning young women around the world

Making its triumphant Canadian debut at the Young People’s Theatre, Emotional Creature is a poignant look at the various struggles endured by young women all over the world. This V-Day Toronto production (presented in conjunction with Nightwood Theatre) employs song, dance and dialogue to explore a wide range of issues – from trying to fit in to escaping a horrible life of sexual slavery.

First and foremost, the cast of 13 young women must all be applauded for their effort to bring such gut-wrenching subject matter to life. Each actress brought something very special to the production, with no weak links in this carnation of Eve Ensler’s critically acclaimed play. They all worked quite well together and really personified their characters.

However, there were a couple of truly outstanding performances last night.

Charming yet awkwardly endearing, Katherine Cappellacci gave a memorable monologue as a young women who was forced to have plastic surgery by her parents in an attempt to make her more “pretty”. Comedic monologues often run the risk of falling flat when the actor lacks stage presence, but Cappellacci was able to handle her comedic lines with perfect timing – effortlessly reading the audience and performing her lines with larger-than-life gusto.

For her part, Halima Mohamed delivered a powerful, yet honest performance as a Congolese child rape victim. Every aspect of her performance was flawless. From teary whispers to rage-filled outcries Mohamed seamlessly covered an entire gambit of emotion. What’s more, her accent work was spot-on – something that was unfortunately not as polished for several of the other young cast members.

In general, this play did a stellar job bringing social injustices to light, as the group scenes and monologues were all thoughtfully written and realistic.

The one point of contention this reviewer has would be the unnatural insertion of musical numbers between vignettes. The audience would often be coming down from experiencing a powerful scene, when all of a sudden, the cast would break out into a song and dance number that seemed to have little correlation with the preceding subject matter.

The ending musical number would be the most jarring instance.

With shallow lyrics like “This is not extreme, this is a girl thing. What we would be if the door inside us flew open”, the final song and dance number seemed out of place after the compelling spoken word of the characters pouring their hearts and souls on stage.

But other than this minor criticism, the Toronto rendition Emotional Creature was a fantastic production, and the girls on stage Saturday performed marvelously.