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Fringe Review: Babel On

By Helen Lam on June 16, 2019

Babel On
by Tim C. Murphy
55 min

Tim recounts his longing for connection from childhood to adulthood. In the formative relationships of his life, he looks for intimacy even as he runs from it. As he struggles with anxiety and depression, music is a constant comfort and proxy for emotional expression. Those who were young in the 80s will probably be hit with a fair bit of nostalgia for a bygone musical era. Those that are too young to remember the 80s will recognize famous melodies here and there.

This play seems to be more like a dramatized memoir than a theatre drama. The narrative structure is pretty loose, jumping from story to story; he’s just a man, in a room, baring his most intimate self. Still, it’s hard not to be drawn into his tales. Tim is willing to reveal his most vulnerable moments and deepest fears, all the hopes of connection with the audience. There are moments when Babel On feels more like a self-help seminar than a play. But overall, it does succeed in making us believe we know Tim. He succeeds in creating an air of intimacy.

The appeal of Babel On is that it is willing to go beyond vague calls for courage and connection.

There were some opening night hiccups with the sound and lighting. Occasionally the stage directions looked out of sync with the story. Adjustments seemed to be being made on the fly, but this didn’t take away from the audience’s experience. The appeal of Babel On is that it is willing to go beyond vague calls for courage and connection: Tim is willing to name his demons and let us watch as he struggles with them. For audience members that have struggled with anxiety and depression, it was a glimpse into a long but worthwhile road.


Babel On by Tim C. Murphy is playing at ODD Box (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 23, 2019. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.


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