Monday, June 16, 2003

Early Monday Morning Fringe Triple-M: Mooney, Melissa-Lynn, and Modern Stories

Molière than Thou: License to Ill-inois?

Tim Mooney, writer and star of Molière than Thou, was understandly miffed that I placed his show on my list of 8 Shows to Avoid Catching Like SARS. Betraying my Montrealcentric bias and my Misanthropic nature, I dissed the show writing: "I’ve got an idea! Why don’t I pack up my little English-language Illinois-based show about Molière – the world’s most famous French playwright – and present it in the biggest French-speaking city in North America?"

Mooney dropped me a line earlier today, expressing his indignation: "Well, I feel properly slammed. Obviously nothing good could come out of Illinois." He also sent along a few reviews. It's only fair to give equal space to a few good words about the show...

The Orlando Weekly: "Like his cultural hero before him, Mooney needs only a trunk of costume pieces and his superior histrionics to turn himself into any number of vivid, irreverent, fast-talking characters straight from the pages of the author’s greatest works. Mooney is a well-trained and appealing performer who whets the appetite for more."
The Orlando Sentinal: "Mooney’s show is a relatively traditional one for the Fringe: You can imagine it touring to high-school auditoriums, and surely it’s the only Fringe offering that mentions Aristotle’s unities of time, place and action. But the actor has a way with this material and an equally lovely manner with the members of the audience he invites onto his stage – at the show I saw, a retiree from New Smyrna Beach who got a huge kick out of performing “The Schemings of Scapin.” Clearly Molière lives."

Well, I suppose it was a little elitist of me to suggest that -- just because Mooney is an American performing in English -- he doesn't have the right or the talent to perform Molière in Montreal. (I was acting like one of those nobs who suggest that Judith Thompson should not write about poor, disadvantaged people, because she's a middle-class white woman.)

I still have no idea if the show is any good. However, to make up for my presumptuousness, here is a list of things from Illinois that I know are great:

- Chicago : that toddling town!
- Hillary Rodham Clinton : bestselling author and the most famous first lady ever!
- John Deere : Tractors! Tractors! Tractors!
- Miles Davis: Kind of Brilliant!
- Harrison Ford: They should have called him Illinois Jones!
- The Ferris Wheel: Invented by Galesburg-born George Ferris!
- Ernest Hemingway: He ran with bulls!

(Disclaimer: None of this makes up for the fact that Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois.)

Uncle Jack: 1/4 of Pigeon-hole Recommends this Show

Isabelle Famy, the lovely and talented lead singer from Montreal's folk-funk spectactular Pigeon-Hole, emailed me to recommend Uncle Jack (which I keep mixing up with Uncle Buck).

Izz says that the show is... Well, I'll let her tell you:

I'm writing to to send you a brief critique of a fabulous one woman show I went to see tonight (Saturday, June 14) at the Fringe festival. The play is called Uncle Jack, written and directed by Peter Katz, and starring Melissa-Lynn Dozois.

I have to admit that I walked in a few minutes late after my roommate and I had run like blind maniacs through the thick fog and mist that had spread across the entire city. Nonetheless, we both adjusted quickly to our shortened introduction to the plot... Melissa Lynn Dozois doesn't have to go past her bedroom door to make anyone understand her character's coping mechanism against her parents' recent divorce. Sequined costumes, blue eye shadow, and the bogus strip tease are absent in this space. Instead, you will find a genuine and clever performance accompanied by comical Dr. Seuss references, large gulps of Jack Daniels and a fitting sound track.

You heard it here folks: Run like blind maniacs to see Uncle Jack...

Also, you can catch the sweet sound-stylings of Pigeon-Hole in Toronto on June 21 at Cameron House and in Montreal on June 29 at Le Swimming. More deets here...

On the subject of Music...

... don't forget: the Fringe isn't just about the theatre. There are many wonderful bands that you can catch for free on the outdoor stage.

I've known singer/songwriter Katie Sevigny since I was just a wee lad, but have never actually been able to see play a concert. So I wish I was in town on June 19 at 6 pm to see her at Parc des Ameriques.

I also seem to have missed Sophie Young (formerly of Modern Stories) and Courtney Wing... The latter musician I am particularly upset to have missed, because it is so rare to find another man with a woman's name with whom I can commisserate.

Keep on sending that Fringe gossip to jkelly@cup.ca.

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