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Fringe Review: Stick or Wizard?

By David Currie on June 20, 2019

Stick or Wizard
by Oli Weatherly (Eee!)
60 min / G / Solo / Clown / Comedy

Of the shows I’ve seen at Fringe this year, only three have really truly made me feel something let’s call “outside of myself.” I wasn’t hungry; I wasn’t wondering what time it was or how long I’d been in that room; I was feeling an emotion a show was designed for me to feel. Stick or Wizard was one of those shows.

We live in dreadful and monotonous times. Boris Johnson is about to be Prime Minister of England, Australia was about to undertake a full-blown green revolution only to say “nah,”  and the country below us, that shining city on a hill, has locked babies in the desert and repurposed 75-year-old Japanese internment camps. The impact of individuals feels like it’s weaker than ever, and there isn’t any kind of collective buy-in to make things better. So yeah, Oli Weatherly, maybe it is time for us all to be wizards.

Oli Weatherly has brought a truly bizarre show to Fringe that has absolutely nothing to do with any of the terrible things I have just mentioned. His show offers you a basic choice: Watch me or watch this motionless stick I have left on stage seemingly only for the sake of the title. Over the course of an hour, he plays with toys, he welcomes the audience, and he tells some jokes. None of it really fits together—it’s seemingly just a random act of theatre—but for an hour, surrounded by children, adults, adult children, childish adults, and everything in between, I didn’t think about those bad things. I just watched a man get excited about his toys, and the weight of the world lifted.

For an hour, surrounded by children, adults, adult children, childish adults, and everything in between, I didn’t think about those bad things.  I just watched a man get excited about his toys, and the weight of the world lifted.

Stick or Wizard is a bizarre show, and I’m not even sure it works, but I also don’t think it has to. If fringe festivals aren’t the place for a person to try and ignite joy in darkness, then I don’t know what we’re doing here. It’s a glorious celebration of a revelation Oli Weatherly had after a conversation with a young child some time ago. That conversation has inspired this innocent and charming show, and this quixotic world tour Oli has taken himself on, and a real relief in a world that is too serious, too terrible, and sometimes feels hopeless.

Suspend your disbelief for an hour and go see Oli Weatherly clown with some little toys in a sparkling magical jumpsuit. Become the wizard you always wanted to be, and then, if you’re like me, spend two days trying to figure out what the hell you just watched and who you became while you were watching it.

Avoid this show if you don’t like physical theatre; if that’s the case, maybe just stay home and listen to a podcast or something.


Stick or Wizard? by Oli Weatherly is playing at Studio 1201 (10 Daly Ave) 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.