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Courtesy Ottawa Fringe.

Fringe Review: The Virgin and the Horn

By Barbara Popel on June 17, 2022



The Virgin and the Horn
Created by Shantell Powell
Produced by Tuba Czar Productions (Gloucester)
50m | 14+ | Comedy
Content warnings: mature language, sexual content

First things first—this play should be labelled as “Mature”, not “14+”. There’s a lot of profanity, mostly of a sexual nature, and lewd behaviour involving objects that are longer than they are wide.

This play, first produced in 1994, is split into several parts. In the first 20 minutes, we watch three characters—a dumpy unicorn named Rafferty who is wearing an ugly white onesie and a crummy cone for a horn and who wanders aimlessly about the stage, a buff, foul-mouthed young man named Jonah (a real horndog) who uses every clichéd line in the book (“I only love you for your magnificent mind!”) as he attempts to seduce Princess Mary, a ridiculous dumb-bunny virgin who says things like “Oh goody!” Jonah figures that if Rafferty lies in Mary’s lap (Jonah seems to know the medieval myth about a virgin taming a unicorn), then Jonah can take the unicorn’s aphrodisiac horn and voila—he’ll get laid.

Then with little warning, everything goes sideways. It turns out the unicorn is actually the director, who tears off her headgear, then tears a strip off Jonah, berating his lousy acting abilities. Everyone leaves the stage, the lights come up, and the director insists they start the play again. The lights are dimmed, and they start from the beginning. Now the director is even harder on the actor playing Jonah, while pampering the actress playing Mary. Then Mary gets irritable about the play being politically incorrect and socially unaware. Jonah and Mary switch into a bad pastiche of Shakespearean speechifying. (It doesn’t help that the actors can’t project Elizabethan English, though they’re audible when speaking 21st-century vulgarities.)

Some of the small opening-night audience thought all this was very funny. One woman in the front row laughed at almost every line. But I didn’t laugh, not once.

The Virgin and the Horn by Shantell Powell is playing at LabO (60 Waller Street) until June 26, 2022. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at