Reviews - Fringe 2015

Fringe 2015 Review: Ornithology

By Mackenzie Kristjon Jenkyns
Published July 27, 2015


Anyone who saw Baby Redboots' Revenge at the Pearl Company not so long ago already knows that anything written by Philip Demetri-Galas is probably amazing. Alternately, fans of his sister Diamanda would be quick to take a look. After all, she was the first singer after Robert Plant to inspire John Paul Jones to make an album again... So the only questions for me were: how good is it going to be? And how quickly can I find out?

This play is excellently adapted by Anne Meighan from Demitri-Galas's novel Cigarette Waltz and concerns a woman who is coming to grips with her own relationship to an older and very powerful woman with whom she works.

Something about all of this made me think of Kevin Kline's The Extra Man in which he portrays a flamboyant professor who escorts older women and picks up a cross-dressing protégé! Yes, it was THAT interesting.

In many ways, the minimalist but compelling performance of Ryan Anning as Edie sets a real tone that allows the viewer to focus on the words. Although the text made me feel like I was in a Camille Paglia dream sometime in the early '80s just as that particular brand of feminism was blossoming, something about the gauzy '60s-ish shirt and the wig (the wig!) that our protagonist was wearing put me in an earlier era. It felt quaint yet somehow sinister.

I only wish I could have seen this twice. Within twenty minutes, I felt like I absorbed more content and drama than I had in an entire week!

Mackenzie Kristjon is an Icelandic-Canadian singer-songwriter and all around creative force. He has published numerous books including the award-winning Culinary Saga of New Iceland. He also has roots in community radio at CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph. To hear/see/download his music, you can visit thismaddesire.bandcamp.com.

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