Thursday, 12 July 2012

FringeTO Review: The Ballad of Herbie Cox

Real life marrieds, Victoria Chiu & Roland Cox.
Yes, Roland 
does execute this leap in the show
My Rating: 5/5
With over 100 shows in the Fringe Festival, it's impossible to see all of them, so when Roland Cox handed my his show postcard, I couldn't promise that I would see the show. Two things that Roland did, made me try and schedule the show, and I am glad I did because it didn't disappoint. Without any fanfare Roland told me (and gal pal, blogger Heidy Mo) that the woman in the postcard was his wife (Victoria Chiu) and that "Yes, she really is that beautiful."). He then proceeded to do  the leap (shown left) in the middle of Lennox Avenue in front of the crowd waiting to go into the Randolph Academy. 

The Ballad of Herbie Cox, is a highly personal story for Chiu and Cox, as it details both sides of their racially and culturally mixed families through  dance, puppetry, and recorded and live narration. From grandparents through to their present union, the couple continually share the stage with very brief pauses  for quick costume changes. They are great contemporary dancers, but I don't think they are great enough actors to fake the love that surrounds them like a palpable aura.When she dances, he's at the piano or making oral music to accompany her. When they dance together it's sheer magic, especially the final piece which involves a comic stint using the piano as instrument and prop. My favourite piece is the one in which the couple acknowledge his brother, a drug addict with Aspergers Syndrome, with whom Roland wishes he had a better relationship. Chiu use of a chalk covered banner and contemporary dance movements combine with Cox's vocalizations to communicate pain and despair. This piece, more than any, exemplifies the shows' marriage between storytelling, dance and music, as all the elements work together to create fresh and captivating theatre.  Bravo!

I wish that I had seen this performance earlier in the festival, so that I could have recommended it to you earlier. There are two performances left, so take an extended lunch break tomorrow, or mark it in your calendar to see it Saturday.

Spoiler Alert! The "Herbie" in the show's title is the couple's blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler. I met him after the show and he is adorable! 

Randolph Theatre (on Bathurst, 1 block south of Bloor)
July 13 12:00 PM
July 14 12:30 PM

July 4 - 15, 2012
TICKETS: at-the-door tickets ($10) Available at a show’s venue starting one hour prior to show time, cash sales only, limit of 4/person. advance tickets ($9 + $2 service charge) Available up to three hours prior to the start of a performance: Online at By Phone at 416-966-1062 In person at the Festival Box Office July 4th – 15th, 12 – 10pm @ The Fringe Club, 581 Bloor St. W.

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