Fringe Review: Honeymoon Period is scintillating, top-notch theatre

The Times Colonist is reviewing the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, which continues in downtown locations until Sept. 6. All ratings are on a five-star scale.

 

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What: The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over

Where: Langham Court Theatre

When: Aug. 29, 30, Sept. 2, 4, 5

Rating: Five stars

 

With this love-gone-stale tale, British solo performer Gemma Wilcox offers a storyline that’s far from original. Yet the way in which she tells it absolutely is. The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over is a superb show that reaches a dizzying standard.

It’s the story of a young English woman, Sandra, who becomes engaged to — and then marries — a man called Michael. Right from the start the relationship seems to have entered a cul-de-sac.

The couple can’t help annoying and disappointing one another; what used to be right has gone desperately wrong. However, when an old boyfriend shows up one evening, Sandra’s joie de vivre is reignited.

What makes this 65-minute show a transcendent effort are Wilcox’s outstanding skills as a writer and performer. She plays 20 characters, shifting from one to another with jaw-dropping deftness and speed. Each is well-defined. Various U.K. accents are delivered impeccably; her use of gesture is razor-sharp.

When the going gets maudlin, the atmosphere is leavened with humour. Wilcox plays talking chickens, hamsters and cats. This might sound corny — it’s not, thanks to the irreverence and acuity of her portrayals.

This performer’s mastery of movement is something to behold. For instance, when Wilcox plays a regal peacock spreading its wings, it’s breathtakingly beautiful — like a unforgettable moment from a contemporary dance piece.

There’s something both heartening and scintillating about seeing any live performance — be it theatre, dance, music — that achieves a top-notch level. It’s energizing and thrilling. And The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over is such a show.

More Fringe reviews HERE

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