Who would have thought that my favourite show I saw at the Toronto Fringe Festival tonight was going to be Bum Chic Productions’ In Denial: A One Woman Clown Show? I certainly didn’t when the show was assigned to me, but I am so glad it was.
In Denial: A One Woman Clown Show was my first formal introduction to the silly, goofy world of clowning and I couldn’t have asked for a better guide than Rachel Resnik. Resnik is a multi-talented, multi-dimensional writer-performer and her one-woman show is an absolute blast.
I’ll warn you right now that this show involves full audience participation. I was pulled on stage for a “back-stage tour” – a tour of the back of the stage – in the first of many audience participation bits. If you’re not up for getting on stage then parts of the show might not work for you, but I promise that the rest of the show is comic gold.
In this play, Resnik draws together typical twenty-something worries about starting a career and finding a stable romantic relationship brilliantly through a high-energy exploration of the life of Velma Patterson, a clown who wants to become an actress.
Each of Velma’s auditions had the audience in stitches. From her dance audition that leaves her with her foot stuck on top of a ladder, to her hand puppet Romeo and Juliet monologue that plays out a little bit differently than Shakespeare’s text, to her character development for a “Waitress Number 1” character, her audition bits are always surprising and hilarious.
She seamlessly blends pop-culture humour and theatre culture humour together in a way that made me feel like this show was specifically designed to appeal to my interests. She sings an absolutely beautiful rendition of “Defying Gravity” that shows off both her actual singing voice and her character singing voice and makes hysterical jabs at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, A Chorus Line, and Stephen Sondheim.
She also does an exceptionally impressive bit in Italian that starts as a fake Italian joke and ends with her reciting her Romeo and Juliet monologue in fluent Italian.
If you’re up for a laugh and like zany, over-the-top performances, this show is for you. It’s already one of the highlights of my 2014 Fringe experience; I suggest you make it one of yours too.
July 03 at 09:15 PM
July 06 at 07:00 PM
July 07 at 01:00 PM
July 09 at 11:00 PM
July 10 at 05:45 PM
July 11 at 09:45 PM
July 13 at 03:30 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), 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 if you are going to at least five shows; 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 Rachel Resnik by Victor Tangerman.