Hey! Good Lookin’, playing at the Toronto Fringe, brings two sisters from different walks of life together after their mother suffers a stroke. Their mother has been living with dementia for years and the reality of mortality hits them full force in this eye-opening and poignant production.
Mary (Jorie Morrow) is a frazzled house-mom herself while Angela (Jillian Rees-Brown) is a dazzling, holistically inclined theatre star. The two couldn’t be more different but in a hospital waiting room, they reconnect and hash out their past. They struggle to see eye-to-eye, they learn secrets about each other kept hidden for years, and they make preparations and plan for a possible future without their dear mom.
Overall the performance is genuine, heartbreaking and honest – an eye-opening treat to watch. The lives of these two sisters are the heart and soul of this performance. Mary’s fragility at being at the end of her mental tether, feeling that all responsibility falls on her. Morrow captures this beautifully through her eyes and the slight tremble of her lower lip.
The energy at the beginning, when Angela breezes into the hospital after her flight in to meet Mary who has spent years watching their ailing mother on top of taking care of her own family, is high-strung and chaotic. At first I was worried that this would be the tone of the story but as soon as the two sisters shed their protective shells, the tempo calmed and the performance hit home.
I enjoyed the production’s creative use of sound. The doctor is just a voice and when he delivers the verdict of their mother’s condition, the words become distorted by the sounds of the hospital, I found that particularly effective. The distinctively minimal waiting room set was practical and uncluttered and didn’t take away from the sisters’ story.
There were a few line slips throughout the show but that may have more to do with opening day jitters. That aside, the performance is certainly worth checking out during your Fringe wanderings this year.
Hey! Good Lookin’ plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St George St)
Audience advisory: This production contains mature language.
July 04 at 12:00 PM
July 05 at 04:30 PM
July 07 at 10:30 PM
July 08 at 05:45 PM
July 09 at 07:45 PM
July 11 at 11:00 PM
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Jillian Rees-Brown and Jorie Morrow by Janice Hardacre