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Photo: Shaun Ferguson

Fringe Review: Scaredy Cat

By Nicholas McBurney on June 17, 2019

Scaredy Cat
by Squirrel Suit Productions
46min / 14+ / Storytelling / Comedy

Carlyn Rhamey grew up afraid. Afraid of: haunted houses, vampires, werewolves, murderers, dark alleys, walking alone, even Hallowe’en (which is her birthday). And especially horror movies (her mother’s favourite).

As she grew up, the fright list grew. For example, when she was eight she tried to sneak into her 13-year-old big sister’s sleepover party. Little Carlyn found a hiding spot just as her sister started a movie in the video player. Cue the music of…

JAWS!

Swimming in the ocean added itself to the list.

It’s a story that’s quite different from her previous two shows… and to my mind, it’s also more heartwarming.

Rhamey had another handicap that amplified her fears: a highly active imagination. She became an actress and a playwright after all. As bad as her fears were in real life, her imagination blew them up to monstrous proportions. For example, not only could she not walk by the Haunted House and its towering vampire at Toronto’s CNE. She couldn’t even walk anywhere in direct sight of the vampire’s blood red eyes. Her father became a master at finding routes that avoided the gaze of that vampire.

But eventually Rhamey had to leave home in Welland for the big city of… Hamilton. Now on her own, she discovered that she had a knack of finding herself in sketchy situations. In response, she developed an elaborate imaginary strategy for dealing with fight or flight situations.

Furthermore she had student debt to pay. Her new-found job took her way out of her comfort zone. She had to accompany a client to the dreaded Haunted House at the CNE… on Hallowe’en.

However, being thrust repeatedly into reality demonstrated to Rhamey that real life can be both more comforting, and even scarier than she imagined. Her tales of how she coped with confronting her fears build a story full of comic moments, vivid terrors, but also eventual courage and resourcefulness.

It’s a story that’s quite different from her previous two shows (Saor and The ADHD Project). And to my mind, it’s also more heartwarming.


Scaredy Cat by Carlyn Rhamey is playing at Studio 1201 (10 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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