Reviews - Fringe 2009

A Most Unimportant Criminal

By Tom Mackan
Published July 19, 2009

Written, Produced, Directed by, and starring Collette Nichol

Collette Nichol's tour de force performance requires that we have a firm grip on your own reality. She leads us - no, she insinuates us - into the mad space of her mind.

This is an unsettling but invigorating hour for us and there is no escape until the lights go down and this remarkable artist returns to the real world to accept the applause of an exhausted audience.

We are exhausted in the way one feels when the worst is over and we've survived. Litigation is going on, in post-mortem we are told. She is the centre of a criminal investigation and is at the mercy of the eight or so unstable characters who figure in the telling - and all are created at the turn of her head, the twitch of her piercing eyes, and the mischief of her knowing smile.

Before we have a chance to refuse, we are involved: probed and surveyed and questioned and provoked. If there is discomfort in this it is harmless. We know that absurdity is fleeting and to be taken in by it will leave no scars. We go with flow.

Minimalist staging at its best, handled with experienced aplomb, this production is a creative marvel and deserves to be seen and discussed.

TNgM

Tom Mackan is Publisher and editor of NEWZY BITZ, an online Community Theatre newsletter in the GHA, with over 200 subscribers. He is a Member of the Board, Theatre Burlington; an actor and director in GHA Community Theatre for fifty years; winner of over 25 awards and citations in the Western Ontario region and beyond; recipient of 2007 City of Hamilton Arts Award (Theatre); a Graduate of Canadian Theatre School (Sterndale Bennett) Toronto, 1955; and a retired teacher of English and Drama in public and private schools in the GHA and abroad.

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