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Photo: Shawn MacDonall

Fringe Review: High School High

By Brenda Dunn on June 19, 2018

Photo: Shawn MacDonall

High School High
by Alli Harris

60 min / Comedy, Musical / Mature

Remember the first set you discovered from what would later become your favourite comedian? Remember hearing a bit so good it HURT with laughter and took an hour to recover from? Bonus points if that comedian also had a guitar on at the time.

Enter Alli Harris. Except it’s not really an entrance—she’s hit the fringe scene before. Her show Rhythm & Burgundy: The Comeback Tour brought down the house at Fringe 2017. This year she’s kicked it up a notch and down a grade with High School High.

One-woman shows are TOUGH. The demands on a performer’s charisma and energy are enormous and there is absolutely no other focus to distract from every tech issue, pick-mishap or costume change. None of this posed an issue for Harris, whose well-rehearsed set consisted of smooth moves from one hilarious tune to another and clever characters swaps with the swipe of a snapback.

The thing about Harris is that she can sing so well that I’d happily just go to her folk set. She’s so funny that I’d cheerfully watch her do stand up. Her performance is so snappy that I’d joyfully cast her in a play. Frankly, the fact that she’s up there doing all three is just showing off at this point.

This show is the kind of effortless funny that belies just how much work both the performer and director AL Connors have no doubt put in. You don’t get an hour that smooth without a ton of rehearsal and some serious directions so kudos to Connors are also in order. The credit for this solid hour of non-stop musical comedy that kills right to the final note of a sold out house to a standing ovation? That’s an award I’m bestowing squarely on Harris. I tip my floral snapback to you.

This one’s selling out due to much deserved buzz. Don’t wait for the door to get these tickets loves, and don’t wait until Harris costs ten times as much to see. I’m sure it won’t be long.


High School High by Alli Harris is playing in the ODD Box at Arts Court (2 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 23, 2018. Tickets cost $12. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.


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