REVIEW: Fresh Takes on Fresh Meat, Part 1
Jonas McLean catches the first weekend of Ottawa’s Fresh Meat Fest, a self-described “playground” that gives local artists the space to explore new work in a micro-play format. Keeping in kind, here are Jonas’ micro-reviews of the first five of ten new Canadian plays:
At Fresh Meat, emerging and established Ottawa artists showcase new works, with 90% of this year’s shows created by artists from underrepresented communities. Five shows run each weekend, plus extras like Gabrielle Lazarovitz’s “I’m Not a Doctor” Sleep Clinic.
La disparition (She’s gone) is presented en Français with English surtitles. Anie Richer and Marc-André Charrette’s reflections on losing a mother will make you laugh and cry even if you don’t speak French.
Honey Dew Me is a story set during the height of 1960s homophobia with Luke Brown and Kyle Cameron skilfully playing several characters each. It’s easy to agree that LGBT+ inequality remains a global problem in 2017, but harder to take an honest look at our own neighbourhoods as this show does.
Before Le Crip Bleu you will be given the opportunity to leave, but I highly encourage you to stay. Frank Hull and Alan Shain’s choreography and performance is hilarious and titillating, getting the audience hooting for safety belts being unbuckled just as they might for a glove peel at any other burlesque show. The show confronts the gaze of privileged groups and challenge conceptions of who is allowed to empower themselves through mediums like burlesque.
Packed with wit and ghost stories, Badges features Lauren Cauchy, Ali Harris and Amanda Logan struggling to complete the trifecta of friendship, true love, and career. It’s a thrill to watch who succeeds, who fails, and who gets to be the judge.
Amongst this varied and powerful selection of performances Beer Buddies still stands out. Michaela Steven unpacks the complexities of the human heart with the help of more than a few drinks, a gift for language, and a captivating authenticity that had me on the edge of my seat and wanting more.
You can still catch these shows this Saturday.
Author Bio: Jonas McLean is an improvisor and theatre creator from Ottawa, Ontario. He holds a BA in Dramatic Arts with a concentration in theatre praxis from Brock University and is currently pursuing an MA in the Theatre at the University of Ottawa. His research explores improvised performance and the role of the audience and audience participation in performance events. If you would like to continue the conversation he can be found on Twitter @TheJonasMcLean.