Melody A. Johnson delivered top-notch comedy in her solo show at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto
Person of Interest is a one woman show for the ages expertly written and performed by the undeniable Melody A. Johnson.
Johnson plays herself, an actress in a sort of “transitionary” period in her life. When she moves into her new house, she finds out that the neighbours speak fluent “dick” (her words not mine) and eventually reaches a point of desperation where she’ll do anything to get them to move out, even if it means breaking the law… Cue Law and Order transition music.
Person of Interest is the result of her hilarious neighbourly feud and is honestly one of the most entertaining and engaging stories I’ve heard in a very long time.
In my opinion, Person of Interest is a one-person show done right. I’ve seen my fair share of one-handers over the years and have witnessed how difficult it can be to keep the energy up without it turning into a mopey stand up routine. Johnson is simply beaming with energy the whole way through and straight up “slays” us with her witty punchlines and larger than life personality. It’s exciting from beginning to end. I even caught myself leaning forward a few times in anticipation to what she was going to say next and could see that my fellow patrons were doing the same. A really good sign.
What I specifically enjoyed most about Johnson as a performer was how much she owned the room. Our eyes are completely and undeniably locked on her the entire time. She has a presence that just demands our attention mixed with an endearing sort of likability which combined, gets you on her side immediately.
The set is minimal as most one-person shows tend to be. There’s a picture of her son and family dog – Dash and Lily – as well as a fancy armchair in the middle of the stage. Johnson is dressed in head to toe actors’ blacks. She keeps it simple and quaint which makes room for her monster of a story.
I found the writing in general to be extremely clever with some unique jokes and anecdotes. My favorite moments were also the most bizarre… one involving giving a chicken neck a hand job; another alluding to the sad image of a female dog’s nipples flapping in the wind on a cold and rainy day.
The story is very satisfying to me. Every little stop she makes on her journey from innocent, housebound, stay-at-home mom to ex-convict has a purpose and is always called back later, giving the story a sense of wholeness.
The performance is seamless. Johnson powers through with not an ounce of apprehension. It’s very cool to watch. Although some one-person shows indulge in moments of improv, Johnson keeps it real and sticks to her script one hundred percent which I don’t blame her for considering how clever and well thought out the material is.
If you’re looking for a fun, quirky and clever night of theatre, check out Melody A. Johnson’s Person of Interest. She’ll make sure you go home with lots to giggle about.
- Person of Interest played at the Tarragon Theatre Workspace (30 Bridgeman Ave.) until March 4, 2018.
- To stay up to date on Melody A. Johnson’s work, visit her website.
Photo of Melody A. Johnson provided by the company.