Review by Arielle Follett
47 minutes | Comedy, Solo, Storytelling | PG
Left or right? This or that? To be or not to be? But most simply, yes or no? Working Title: Undecided is put on by Ottawa Fringe newcomer Tamlynn Bryson. Guided by a piece of chalk, Bryson’s character, Tess, is about to make a potentially life-changing decision with only two possible answers: yes or no. The decision Tess has to make is best learned by seeing the show, and you really should.
It’s a credit to the lead actress that Tess is incredibly likeable despite her extreme neuroticism, keeping Tess as high-strung as she had to be while still coming across as adorable. Bryson and co-creator/director Kyle Kimmerly are incredibly creative, using every part of the room in their show, even having the audience play the role of the varied parts of Tess’s head as she holds a meeting with them all. Bryson talks directly to audience members, asking for their opinions and even bringing volunteers on stage.
The actress also makes great use of a variety of props, in particular a large chalkboard on which she lists the pros and cons for each side of her decision. Many funny moments emerge, including the hilarious crafting of a makeshift coin to flip.
The quality of the staging also comes across as Tess reflects on past experiences with the voices of those she’s known echoing overhead and, with an excellently utilized lighting change, we go back in time with Tess as our guide.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the show is that, even with only two possible endings, Bryson and Kimmerly still manage to surprise the audience with the ending, though it comes off as somewhat abrupt. This is not a show to be missed, but if you do it will likely not be the last chance to see Bryson and Kimmerly working together. If this show is any indication their pairing will bear more good works in the future.
Working Title: Undecided by Drawing Board Productions is playing at BYOV B – Studio 311 on Friday, June 19 (22:00); Saturday, June 20 (20:30); Sunday, June 21 (16:30); Wednesday, June 24 (22:30); Friday, June 26 (18:00); Saturday, June 27 (19:30) and Sunday, June 28 (16:30). Tickets are $12.