Fringe St-Ambroise Montreal 2018 Festival: «I think I'm dead», «$elf Made $lut»
by Luc Archambault
Al Lafrance summerises this play/performance with these words: «It's a storytelling show about insomnia, Fight Club, and almost dying». The viewers are confronted by a wall-to-wall "narration" (or rant, depending on your perspective) by Al Lafrance, who seems almost in a manic episode, coming down from a nightlong intake of speeds or energy drinks. Every bits from his life are thrown into this fiery pit: his childhood experiences, his nightmarish gig as a best-man during a weeding in Cuba, under a hurricane; his insomnia, his association with Fight Club, his long road towards inner peace. Does he finally reach this nirvanic goal? If you survive the verbal onslaught, you'll find out.
This is quality work. Again, word of mention to the French speaking audience: this show is reserved for the truly bilingual speakers. The pace of delivery, the sheer number of words and the intimist nature (at full speed) should be reserved for those who master the anglo language. But if you do, you'll deeply enjoy this "almost" beyond the grave confession. Al Lafrance does not mince punches. He goes all out with this one. With talent and wit, I might add. I had to see it twice to convince myself of the extraordinary talent of this performer. And he delivered with the constancy of a pro each time.
Photographer: Caleigh Crow
Brittany Sweet wrote, directed and plays in this short monologue about a sex-worker's reality, into what she calls "the secret world of fantasy and taboo". In this mildly raunchy performance, based on the experiences of real-life sex workers and the dichotomy they have to adopt in their everyday lives, this fun and refreshing performance gets right to the point and gets it right, in a fun and respectful manner. Into what could have degenerated into a smut fest, Brittany Sweet keeps it focused on the personal effects of this line of work on the protagonist's life. It doesn't dwell too deep, though; but what can one ask of a 30 minutes play? Are we entertained? Have we been entertained? Yes. It's no reason then to shy away from this guilty pleasure.