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Fringe Review: How I Lost One Pound, The Musical

By Jessica Ruano on June 10, 2017

Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.


Photo by Pam Julian

Photo by Pam Julian

How I Lost One Pound, The Musical
by Lesley Carlberg

60 min / Comedy, Solo / PG

I have to admit, I didn’t choose to review this show: it was assigned to me, and I was dreading it. A one-person show about weight loss that uses the phrase “muffin top” in its description? Kill me now.

But fortune favours those with low expectations: this show was the most fun I’ve had in awhile, mostly because performer Lesley Carlberg is so endearing.

As the “Yellow Polkadot Bikini” opening song plays on the loudspeaker, she – an adult woman in her early fifties – bounds onstage in a massive tutu and introduces herself with minimal formality. She informs us that she has MS, that she’s going to forget a few lines, and that her stage manager Kat Wong will likely have to intervene at some point.

She then proceeds to tell us the story of how she lost one pound. But not really – it’s actually the story of how she has always wanted to be a dancer-singer-actor. Sort of. And then she tells us, despite the title, this isn’t even a musical. And what’s her next line? And wasn’t the light supposed to come on over here? This woman is spacey AF. Maybe that’s her shtick. Or maybe she was drunk. I don’t care. I loved it.

I found myself on the edge of my seat, captivated by her aptitude for seeming spontaneity and baffled by her brilliant-inane segues and imitations, particularly her life-ruining grandmother who ‘smokes’ by dabbing two fingers to the edge of her mouth while talking. It’s so bad it’s genius.

Just like a five-year-old going “Mommy, mommy, look what I can do!”, you can’t take your eyes off her because she’s hilariously adorable and utterly unpredictable. I would see this show again just to see what she does next.


How I Lost One Pound, The Musical by Lesley Carlberg is playing at the ODD Box (2 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 17, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info.