60 min | Storytelling, Solo | PG
While the title and the online Fringe description may prepare you for something else entirely, Emily Pearlman’s I Think My Boyfriend Should Have An Accent is an insightful and expertly crafted collection of tales, sporting an incredible juxtaposition of deeper meaning and whimsy. She takes us along to the far-off places that she has been, sharing with us the laughter and the revelations that she’s had along the way.
It begins with a somewhat ludicrous introduction, a hyperbolic “here I am” of our performer doing her best to introduce herself while awkwardly avoiding every socio-cultural faux pas imaginable, and appearing as ridiculous as one might suspect. I laughed and rolled my eyes with the rest of the audience, readying myself for an hour of something I wasn’t really into, and like the rest of the audience I was left completely unprepared for what came next: her experience as a tourist passing through a Rwandan Congolese refugee camp.
This story and the ones that followed it left me completely floored. While she never loses her endearingly awkward sense of humour, Pearlman recounts tales that are serious and compelling, that encourage reflection. Broken down into acts, the performance is comprised of four interconnected stories about empathy, prejudice, the right to sorrow, emotional openness, the responsibility we have to act, and the consequences of when we don’t. While the stories are all highly personal, I still feel that they are relevant to everyone who lives in a world and strives to empathize, in whatever way they can, with the people they share it with.
As a performer, Pearlman is a storyteller who knows her craft well. Her voice is emotive and dynamic, able to capture and keep her audience’s attention just by sitting there. Her use of digital media in her performance is the best I’ve seen yet, and added an interesting element to her storytelling—a kind of peephole into her story—almost giving the viewer the sense of being there as these things actually happened.
I recommend this performance to anyone with a love for excellent storytelling, as this has so far been my favourite performance that I’ve attended at Fringe.
I Think My Boyfriend Should Have An Accent is playing at Venue 5—ODD Box (2 Daly Avenue, 2nd Floor) on Saturday, June 20 at 9:00 p.m.; Monday, June 22 at 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m.; Friday, June 26 at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 27 at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $12.