The Drunk Text
by Mathieu Charlebois, Nichole Perera, and Samantha Clarke
60 min / Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romantic Comedy / PG
The premise is clear. We’ve all done it and lived to regret it and thus this musical production dives down the rabbit-hole unleashed by a single day-drunk test message.
Tired of the mundanity of the life he has set out before him, Dylan (Mathieu Charlebois) unceremoniously dumps his fiancée Melissa and leaves family and a civil-servant career behind him in the dust as he high-tails it out of Ottawa to pursue his artistic dreams in New York City.
The production opens with a number full of bright-eyed optimism and disregard for the life Dylan leaves behind as Mathieu Charlebois climbs atop some seriously retro luggage to project a future of sunny days ahead.
Dylan is lucky enough to land in a shared house that comes complete with supportive and no-nonsense new friend Nicole—played by the delightfully talented Emily Asmar who is soon making connections and moving Dylan’s career rapidly forward. This plot line doesn’t get bogged down with details and that is a plus that keeps the action flowing. The plot thickens when, following libations with Nicole, Dylan sends a drunken text professing love to his ex-fiancée, Melissa—played by a stand-in on opening night—causing her to show up unannounced on his doorstep.
As the couple warm and grow closer, the audience is left to ponder whether is this a revenge plot is brewing or a true reconciliation will unfold.
Drunk Text is a classic musical with an old-school number from Fame. It has a concise contemporary story line that is fun, funny and well-paced. Humorous touches involving fruit roll ups, Canadian flags and pop-tarts keep the production light.
Certain performances were stronger than others. The character of Melissa, in particular, was rougher around the edges than expected. Though it was disclosed that the stand-in actor had taken the role on with only 24-hours notice and, in light of this, she delivered a commendable execution.
Charlebois’s on-stage presence would be markedly improved by engaging physically with his musical delivery, adding eye-contact and gesture to increase his impact and connection with the audience, and the numbers that he sings.
Asmar provides a masterful presence delivering a solid performance. Her powerful voice, infectious comedic timing, believable and at times vulnerable acting chops distinctly elevated the night. Her duet with Charlebois, “You’re the Top”, is the show stopping performance that ignites the stage. I have to say I wished the director had seized on and emphasized that combination.
Morgan Coughlan as Melissa’s Ottawa confidant Chaz drew laughter on opening night but the over-the-top “gay best friend” felt hackneyed to this member of audience despite his commitment and confidently capable delivery.
A live trio of musicians accompany the actors on-stage providing a faultless musical performance.
Looking for light and easy musical fare? This may be the Fringe menu item for you.
Drunk Text by Mathieu Charlebois, Nichole Perera, and Samantha Clarke is being performed in Academic Hall inside University of Ottawa (133 Séraphin-Marion Pvt) 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.