Reviews - Fringe 2015

Fringe 2015 Review: The Abigail

By Jessica Rose
Published July 25, 2015


"You should have taken the money, old man," says one of the two Edwards who make up Edward, Edward, and Associates, a pair of gangsters who kill Abigail Brown's father and sisters in the middle of the night. Their plan to seize the family's home and land doesn't go as planned when Abigail, just a child, manages to escape the senseless crime.

In the years that follow, the Browns' home becomes known simply as The Abigail, a tribute to the little girl who got away. The home is blindingly beautiful, but evil lurks inside, and all who live there are in various ways touched by it. The landmark home becomes a historic hotel and later a brothel. The audience doesn't know it right away, but one of its inhabitants is a grown-up Abigail Brown looking to reclaim the house that was stolen from her family.

The Abigail spans many decades, beginning with gangsters and ending with hippies who adopt the Abigail as their own. Filled with many twists and turns. The Abigail is epic; possibly too epic for a small Fringe Festival stage, but you can't help but applaud the young cast for embarking on such a lofty production. Despite it's long run-time (90 minutes), The Abigail uses both humour and drama to keep its audience engaged.

Overall, The Abigail is an amusing trip through time, but often, it's unnecessarily profane. Baby-faced actors employ slurs that may have once been commonplace, but aren't appropriate today. This production employs every gender stereotype possible, but in the playwrights' defense, they're not dealing with decades that were kind to women.

The Abigail explores many heavy themes, among them violence and greed, but in the end, it's love that triumphs. This ambitious journey is one worth taking.

Since earning a degree in journalism from Carleton University, Jessica Rose has written for publications in Hamilton and across Canada. Her book reviews have appeared in many magazines, including Quill and Quire, Room, Ricepaper, This, the Humber Literary Review, and on rabble.ca. Jessica sits on the board of gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival. She writes "Shelf Life," Hamilton Magazine's books column and she's also a senior editor for the upcoming Hamilton Review of Books. You can find her blogging on her website, Not My Typewriter, and the Hamilton Arts Council.

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