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Fringe Review: Jimmy?

By Colin Noden on June 17, 2019

Jimmy?
by Cullen McGrail (adapted by Another One theatre company)
60min / PG / Drama / Thriller

Jimmy?’s strength let it down in the end. The play’s subtle mood transitions had the audience swaying in their seats from scene to scene. And when we left, we commented “That was amazing. So, what happened at the end?”

The end could have been the victim of momentum. Perhaps a flash of overacting at a crucial moment. Or the infamous acoustics of the venue. I think it is a small fix and could have just been the dynamics of the night. Because the play is well crafted and excellently acted.

It begins before it begins. With an American Gothic style vignette onstage as you take your seat. Everything you want to know about the story is before you. But of course, you don’t yet know what you want to know. So, make sure to take a careful look.

This play has all the pieces and captivated me right to the end.

The play starts as Alice Britt, a medium, is literally taken to help a man deal with a poltergeist. This would be alarming to most people, but since she’s a medium, she seems willing to go along with mysteries. But is she? Willing, or a medium?

This theme of role and motivation drives the rest of the play. We’re seduced by the light humour of Alice trying to literally diffuse the tension of her abduction/client appointment. Then we’re intimidated by the alpha humour of the client who turns out to be a gangster. And finally intrigued by the passion and guilt that follows.

I think you can see why we were swaying in our seats. Leaning forward during suspense. (Is she really a medium? Is something about to happen?) To the scrunched up “ewws” of locker room humour. We soon became willing to join in what comes next. That’s a lot of power turning the corner into the 60-minute deadline.

There was a little loss of control during the last transition. But the fact that this was noticeable shows just how good the rest of the play was.

As I said, I’m sure this is an easy fix. Keeping momentum, giving space for empathy, adjusting to the venue, and leaving us in awe is, thankfully, the director’s job. We just sit and enjoy. This play has all the pieces and captivated me right to the end.


Jimmy? by Cullen McGrail (adapted by Another One theatre company) is playing at Knox Presbyterian Church (120 Lisgar St) until Saturday June 22, 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.