Fringe Festival Reviews #7

Potion Ethics

It’s 2024, and though the witches in this potion store look as though they’re selling their wares from some vague time between 1890 and 1920, contemporary ethical notions have caught up. Love Potion is about to be banned by the local coven for being too non-consensual. This witch family must contrive a way to deal with the loss of their best seller and keep the customers coming.

With a huge, exuberant cast, Emily Stuchbery’s Potion Ethics is a fantastic romp full of brilliant lines and solidly on the pulse of Gen-Z’s passion for occult and paganism. Casting is excellent with spot-on costumes and set (great work by co-director Sandra Soulard). Everyone does a fantastic job in terms of keeping the story moving along at high speed. Special kudos to Aly Slominski as the mischievous matron Laurel and her great deadpan delivery and Maya Lewis as the hyperactive, optimistic Aunt. Lewis’ range of expressions and timing elevates everyone else’s game.

No need to do a Celtic Cross reading to see if this is one to see. It is. Shows are selling out, so get your tickets for tonight asap.

Potion Ethics is at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (Place des Arts) on June 12 Tickets HERE.

The Death of Homer

To disclose, I’m a classicist (technically I’m an ancient art historian/archaeologist), which means I read Homer. A lot of Homer. And I suspect that like Tom Giles, I fall into the category of people who consider Homer the greatest poet of all time, though I am not fond of superlatives. As I listened to Giles recite Homer’s words, I thought of lines from book 6 in the Iliad, and if you’ve never read it, your life is less.

As the field of old dead white guys who like war, classics can be a bit crusty and dusty, especially when one gets into the minutiae of textual analysis. As a pro in this field, I can rubber stamp that The Death of Homer definitely relies on scholarly sources. It’s almost risqé to pick this subject matter and deliver it so it doesn’t feel like 45 minutes of Classics 101. But Giles comes out in his dark blue outfit and long stick and channels from that lineage of traveling rhapsodists to entrance the audience. He looks straight into the eyes of each person, telling the story rather than reciting it. What a gift! Time flies as he shifts from sincere to poetic to humorous in sharp turns. If only every humanities professor could be just a small fraction of what Giles is — perhaps STEM departments would be shutting down instead of arts ones. The keyboard accompaniment by Harry Skinner adds just the right amount of drama and feels authentic since ancient poets recited their works to stringed instruments.

Beyond that, the script is crafty and inspired, particularly in how the story shifts to the academic journey to Yugoslavia to find out about oral poetry and the impact of that discovery. Giles is a master at combining the subtlety and drama of that.

Another must-see.

The Death of Homer is at Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur E) on June 12, 13, and 15. Tickets HERE.

Info and tickets HERE. Info about all shows at the Montreal Fringe Festival can be found HERE.

Other reviews related to the 2024 Montreal Fringe Festival: The Fringe is Upon usThe Kid Was a Spy, Wit and Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker, TA PLACE DANS LA FINALITÉ D’UN MONDE, La Germaine et le Vieux Criss, Les échos de Katerina et Danse de la mort, Me and Her, The Deadline, The List: A Traumady About Probiotic Masculinity, Stories from the Brink, The Singing Psychic Game Show, D’arrache-pied jusqu’au bout de tes doigts.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts