by Elliot Delage
45 min / Drama / PG
25 premiered earlier this month at the Montreal Fringe, landing in Ottawa as part of a seven-city tour of Canada for theatre company 1919, of Paris’ 19ieme arrondissement. 25 orbits the lives of 12 mid-twenty characters in a series of brief skits—the show is only 45 minutes—each on the very precipice of “serious” adulthood; burgeoning careers pressed up tight against kid-like sensibilities, as death, life and parenthood take centre stage.
Created by Elliot Delage, the two-hander performance with Anastasia Wells cement these two as talents well worth catching. As they flow through their vignette roles in a work-place romance, as a brother and sister burying their father, or as a raving club-kid entanglement they bring a magnetic quality to the stage really possessing each persona despite the brevity of the scene. These two take nothing for granted with their production and are giving you their best—no motion or expression is delivered without consideration and precision—and it works. The performance opens in utter darkness with a voice calling hello and as the lights come up it is unclear where this first intriguing yet confusing scene will lead us—a little like the future of a twenty-odd year old.
The characters are played out in cycled narratives that are compelling and for the most part straightforward. Unfortunately, a pivotal concluding incident needs clarity—with the audience confused as to who was on the motorcycle. This gap in the narrative was unfortunate but the ensemble of the production works with the humour, introspection and nuanced performances creating an experience that lingers.
The simple set of a rolly-cart, a speaker and some minimal wardrobe items on a pair of on-stage clothes horses provide cues whilst letting the performers shine. Wells and Delage clothed in simple noir et blanc use the negligible clothing to great effect transforming themselves with the simplest items not unlike a snake shedding their skin or chameleon readjusting its camouflage. The gestures and the grace of the choreography is the co-star to this introspective work as the characters adjust, fail each other and forge their way, the poise and polish of both actors is beautiful as when Delage does a brief shadowed routine in a doctor’s office and when Wells engages with emotion and aplomb with what was a rather awkward audience.
25 is a very digestible if more of an amuse-bouche than a main course performance. See it for Delage and Wells.
25 by Elliot Delage is playing in the ODD Box at Arts Court (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 24, 2018. Tickets cost $12. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.