Review: Thou Shalt Not COVID Thy Neighbour’s Wife (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Christine Estima

Thou Shalt Not COVID Thy Neighbour’s Wife, written and performed by Christine Estima, is one of the stories presented as part of the Next Stage Community Booster.

Storytelling is hard. Everyone in the audience probably has different expectations; some want a ‘performance’ with lots of movement and vocal and facial expressions. Others may want intimacy, a gentle voice, accompanied by a seated body leaning towards the audience. Estima is more towards the performance end of the scale, without being over the top.

Her face is very expressive. Even if you couldn’t hear what she was saying, you’d be able to tell how she felt about it.

I liked her writing, her use of words. I was impressed by how much Estima packed into such a short time. With so much detail, by the end, I thought more time must have passed than 13 minutes.

She talks about living in an apartment in a house with no sound insulation and hearing everything her downstairs neighbours say. It all comes up through the air vents in the floor. There are three parts to her story, and she moves from one to the next gracefully. That was something else that impressed me, three parts in a 13-minute story.

I have to admit that pre-pandemic, I wouldn’t have watched a storyteller on a screen. I would have said that storytelling was something that I needed to see live. Thou Shalt Not COVID Thy Neighbour’s Wife is the first one I’ve watched on a screen, and I enjoyed it. It held my focus, no small feat these days.

I enjoyed Estima’s performance and her story, and I loved the twist at the end. It’s definitely worth checking out – especially if you’re like I was and think you can only enjoy live storytelling. I think you’ll be surprised.

Details:

  • Next Stage Community Booster is a virtual festival. Once you buy a pass, you are able to access content behind the website paywall.
  • Ticket packages range from Tip What You Can to $100 depending on what you choose to access. See the website for ticketing information. (This, and 8 other stories, can be accessed through the Storytelling stream for $25 or is included with the Community Booster Membership for $100)
  • All digital content will be available as of 12:01 am on Thursday, January 21, 2021, and will be available until 11:59 pm on Sunday, January 31, 2021.
  • Download the digital brochure

Content Warnings: Mature language and themes

Photo of Christine Estima provided by Toronto Fringe

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