The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over by Gemma Wilcox Productions at the Toronto Fringe Festival is a one-woman show that seems like something much bigger. Gemma Wilcox manages to create over 20 characters, at least three intersecting story lines, and multiples settings out of nothing more than a bare stage, a low bench, and herself. It’s quite impressive and magical to watch.The play takes place over two years in the life of Sandra, a woman in England who is struggling with her relationship with her partner Michael. In act 1, the couple go to visit her Aunt Crystal and Uncle Tony at their farm in the country. Act 2 takes place at their home in Leeds after their marriage. Things are still on shaky ground, which gets even shakier when Sandra’s old boyfriend drops by while Michael is away.
Wilcox’s ability to bring all the different characters to life is spellbinding. With just a change of accent or posture and the smallest of gestures, she is able to convey fully fleshed out personalities and scenes. What’s more is that many of the characters Wilcox creates aren’t even human. She plays several birds, mammals, and even the visible effect of a chemical reaction. I thought her portrayal of the chickens and the peacock were truly genius. (Wow! That is not a sentence I ever thought I would write in a review).
I also really liked the sound design. Brief clips of rain, a chain saw, and bits of music were used to great effect to create emotion and mood. For this 80’s music fan, the inclusion of The Lovecats by The Cure was a highlight.
My one complaint is that the main relationship story seemed fairly conventional and not that interesting. While it was well told, I felt like I had heard it before and could tell what was going to happen. I thought the storyline about Sandra’s cat, Harold and her hamster, Leela however, was unique, surprising, and very funny.
In the end though, I didn’t care that much about the story; I was just so captivated by the worlds Wilcox was creating on stage. I’d recommend checking out The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over for yourself.
- The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Mature language; Audience participation.
- The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Friday July 6th, 4:45 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 8:00 pm
- Monday July 9th, 3:00 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 6:15 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 10:45 pm
- Friday July 13th, 7:15 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 12:00 pm
Photo of Gemma Wilcox by www.AliveStudios.com