Who: Okay Grace Productions
What: Slow Dancing with Mediocre Boys
Where: Mills Hardware (95 King Street East)
When: July 18-28, various dates & times (as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival)
In Slow Dancing with Mediocre Boys, main character Grace (Grace Smith) finds herself on a desperate quest first for a best friend, and then for a boyfriend. She is so meticulous about having these people in her life that she develops a full-proof plan to achieve this. The plan is referenced repeatedly, both orally and visually (two easels with her plans written on chart paper are some of her props).
Although this is wonderful prop that adds a funny dimension to the show, the obsession with these plans makes the main character seem singularly motivated. This may come across to some as relatable- what teenager isn’t constantly overthinking their social status or situation- however, there didn’t seem to be any substance to this character outside of finding her own value through others.
A lot occurs in Slow Dancing with Mediocre Boys, as it covers a period of time over twenty years, which is perhaps why the main character needs to be so singularly motivated to continue its momentum. There are a lot of flashbacks and subsequent transitions, not all of which are smooth. This made it unclear as to which scenes were flashbacks (compared to the present day). Naturally, this caused some momentary confusion. In addition, the offscreen voices of assorted love interests (virtual or not) all sound computerized; perhaps further emphasizing the concept of mediocrity in her search.
Despite these flaws, Grace presents a good story that is well-told. Her story- and in particular, its final scene, delicately balances loneliness and hope. The performance ends on this note- it doesn’t quite seem finished, but it seems inappropriate to continue. While unresolved and somewhat unsettling as a conclusion, this also leaves the audience thinking about the performance long after it’s over. And perhaps the overthinking long after being a teenager (and that nothing really changes) is actually the point after all.