This hilariously insightful one-woman show – written and performed by Katherine Cullen – not only chronicles her experience growing up with dyslexia, but also makes quite a few poignant observations on her struggle learning how to finally be comfortable in her own skin.
Like its name would suggest, Stupidhead! A Musical Cmoedy features completely original songs written by Cullen and her piano accompanist, Britta Johnson. Sure, not all the notes were perfectly on key. And the lyrics aren’t overly complex. But what this show lacks in polish is more than made up for with bountiful amounts of originality and charm.
Take the opening number, for example.
“When I was just a girl
I dreamt a single dream
To sing upon the stage or the movie screen
But music’s not my forte
So I’ll just say in short, hey!
Music theatre couldn’t be the path for me.”
What was most refreshing about this production is its lack of pretense. It doesn’t try to preach some self-righteous set of morals, nor does attempt to goad you into feeling pity. It is, however, an authentic and personal recollection of Cullen overcoming adversity and living life to the fullest.
Throughout the performance, Cullen reminisces about her various childhood memories. Some recalled with fondness, others with a sense of tragedy. From sharing stories of her time in special education classes to a heart-breaking story of her great uncle’s struggle with post-traumatic stress, Cullen takes a no-holds barred approach to storytelling, not afraid to share what she truly thinks or feels.
The comedy here is a bit random, and sarcasm is definitely Cullen’s comedic weapon of choice, but her material contains a wealth of sincere insights and observations on her own personal story growing up different than other children, and eventually accepting that difference and using it as a source of strength.
“That’s when I realized that to run away from your own imperfection is to run very far from any place you can consider home.”
Cullen seamlessly sews together these messages of empowerment with on-point humour and larger-than-life showmanship – making for a well-timed, interesting hour of comedy.
Stupidhead! A Musical Cmoedy is a charismatic celebration of what it means to be human, including what it means pick yourself up after an epic fail. Go see this play. You’ll laugh. You’ll learn. And if you’re sitting close enough to the front, you’ll probably also get free candy.
Remaining Show Times
Saturday, August 8th: 7:00 PM
Tuesday, August 11th: 7:00 PM
Wednesday, August 12th: 9:45 PM
Thursday, August 13th: 4:30 PM
Saturday, August 15th: 4:30 PM
Sunday, August 16th: 7:00 PM
*Run Time: 50 minutes
All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, or in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 4-16 from 10 AM – 7 PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee).
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.
Photo of Katherine Cullen and Britta Johnson provided by rockitpromo.