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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. What: The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over Where: Langham Court Theatre When: Aug.
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The Honeymoon is Officially Over plays Langham Court Theatre Aug. 29, 30, Sept. 2, 4, 5.

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.

 

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