Solos Festival – Night 3 – Bonus Show Night!

Festival directors, Al and Sophie, take tickets before the show, Photo: Julie Santini
Zoe Daniels, Don't Move to Toronto, Photo:

Zoe Daniels, Don’t Move to Toronto, Photo:

Zoe Daniels’s “Don’t Move to Toronto” peaked my interest, since there is usually an exodus of Montrealers to Toronto at the end of most summers. So, why not do it? In “Don’t Move to Toronto,” Daniels opens up about how she went from the perfect boyfriend, perfect apartment, perfect life, to nothing. As the narrative grows darker and darker, Daniels finds herself consoling an audience of strangers and assuring them “I’m fine, guys.” She opens the show with an upbeat dance and illustrates the narrative through the use of songs near and dear to her heart. Daniels references being a standup comedian, which comes through in the way she tells her stories, setting her slightly apart from her non-comedian storytelling counterparts. She ends many sentences with what feels like a ‘zing!’ attitude. Her journey is almost hard to believe, but it’s extremeness easily throws you into a “Ya can’t make this stuff up” mindset. She closes by inviting us to look through a scrapbook of their ‘love’, earning several awes. Daniels knows how to get an audience on her side.

Nisha Coleman, "Self-Exile", Photo:

Nisha Coleman, “Self-Exile”, Photo:

Nisha Coleman is someone I have grown to be a fan of, from seeing her perform at ‘Confabulation‘, to “Things Drugs Taught Me,” to Solos Festival’s “Self-Exile” and right into her book launch next week. There’s nothing like watching deep sincerity and Coleman embodies it every time.

The pre-show music consists of Regina Spektor’s “Open” with these lyrics leading us into the show’s opening: “Potentially lovely, Perpetually human, Suspended and open.” These words perfectly describe the journey Coleman takes us on for the next hour. Coleman’s story starts ever so briefly before her conception with her hippie parents meeting. The stage has four boxes, one in each corner, set for costume changes that aid Coleman’s transitions from toddler, to child, to adolescent, and into adulthood. Each section of her story shares intimate details of learning ways to navigate the world. Coleman transports the audience to places such as her high school hallway and her family’s camping trip. In the end, visibly moved by a more than merited standing ovation, Coleman thanks Jeff Gandell for making the show “5,000 times better than it was” and invites everyone to her book launch on December 4th at 7pm (Drawn and Quarterly, 211 Bernard Ouest).

Here’s the book trailer for ‘Busker’:

Finally, the surprise of the fest, Jon Bennett returns with his beloved show “Fire in the Meth Lab” in a special 10:30pm slot. Bennett has a unique way of interacting with the audience. I’ve never seen him perform with any kind of fourth wall. Even when seeing “Pretending Things are a Cock” at the Toronto Fringe Festival this past summer, he reminded the audience “This is your chance to go to the bathroom,” minutes before show time.

Jon Bennett, "Fire in the Meth Lab," Photo:

Jon Bennett, “Fire in the Meth Lab,” Photo:

In his narrative, Bennett explores unconditional love for his brother, Tim, with an analysis of childhood memories and his brother’s addictions. This piece treats heavy subject matter and is in no way short on humour. This story, despite its title, is a love story. It explores the difficulties of loving who we love, why we love them, and why we can’t stop loving them. A really nice added treat, to an already stellar line-up!

Do you have a show? Apply for the next Solos Festival! You have until December 15th! Click HERE for more details.