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Fringe Review: Happy Birthday, Claire!

By Colin Noden on June 17, 2019

Happy Birthday, Claire!
By Valerie Cardinal
60 Min / Play/ PG/ Comedy, Sci-Fi

This is not an ordinary 25th Birthday Party. Oh wait, yes, it is. Once you get used to the alien. Confused? Don’t worry, someone will clearly explain things. Just before they get blasted and turned into a human ice sculpture. Meanwhile, grab a party favour, sing “Happy Birthday,” and join in the party (while staying in your seat).

You’ll know everyone there. Maybe not by name, but by personality. That’s the fun of this piece. Bring a friend so you can give each other knowing looks as you get to know the cast. And what a cast it is.

Happy Birthday, Claire! is listed as a New Work, but the cast and production have the dynamics of a long-standing play. It’s fast paced but doesn’t lose the audience. The lines pour out and action occurs at every part of the stage. A real twenty-something house party. And yet we can keep up. Kudos to director Allan Mackey and the Academic Hall theatre. Yes, the actual building, which has the acoustics to absorb it all.

This comedy does have a serious message. That’s what makes a good comedy. I’d tell you what it is, but since someone risked becoming frozen while announcing it, I think it’s best if you go see the play to find out.

I’ll give you a hint though. If you’ve ever wished you could go back and talk to your twenty-five-year-old self; Or, if you are in your twenties, and have looked at yourself in the mirror and asked some big questions. Then this party is for you.

Oh, and there’s free cake.


Happy Birthday, Claire! by Valerie Cardinal is playing at Academic Hall (133 Seraphin-Marion) 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.