Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Fringe Review: Carlyn Rhamey: Chaotic Good

Who: Squirrel Suit Productions
What: Carlyn Rhamey: Chaotic Good
Length: 40 Minutes
WhereHamilton Fringe Festival Digital Exclusives Series
When: July 15-25, 2021
Tickets: From $5 -$20 via the Hamilton Fringe Festival Box Office

Many people with ADHD brains do not organize their thoughts and tasks linearly the way neurotypical people do. They experience the world as more of a series of constellations than a series of timelines. Carlyn Rhamey’s nonfiction storytelling bounces around just like that. And it is a lot of fun!

Chaotic Good tumbles us through adolescence outside the popular fold. The first half is so densely packed with short punchlines that you’d be amiss not to find something to laugh at. Rhamey speaks about her own youth and how she was then able to channel her experience into supporting those who later needed her care and attention. Just as we settle in to appreciating this sympathetic hero, she becomes flawed as well. Which, in its own way, welcomes us to love her all the more.

This is an important show because it gives us strong examples of how we might engage with neurodiverse youth. We’re given permission for error in Rhamey’s embrace of life’s messiness. And the result is happier lives.

The performance is simple, sparse, and well measured. Rhamey’s wide-eyed direct address cuts through the medium, making her feel more conspiratorial than a talking head to a camera.

Chaotic Good is not billed as a family show but I would recommend this just as strongly to pre-teens, teens, and adults—especially if they’ve ever felt left out or left behind, which most people have, at some point. Carlyn Rhamey is here for you.

Ciarán Myershttp://ciaranmyers.weebly.com/
Ciarán Myers is a theatre maker in Kitchener-Waterloo. He is richly privileged with an MFA in Script Writing from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He is presently developing new work with GreenLight Arts, Driftwood Theatre, and the Registry Theatre.

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