Who: Pink One Productions
What: Pink Is In Live!
Length: 20 minutes
Where: RELAY Coffee House (27 King William Street)
When: July 20-30 (Thursdays-Saturdays only) as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival
Tickets: $7 + $2.50/ticket fee at https://hftco.ca/events/pink-is-in-live/
The Fringe Mini-bar series is as Franny McCabe-Bennett (Interim Fringe Managing Director) describes it, the “Fringey-est of the Fringe shows”. The Mini-bar series is a forum for fun and exploration and potentially testing out plays on a path for further development. Some challenges of creating and performing a twenty minute show can include clarity, brevity, impact, and scope. The four pieces at Relay Coffee Roasters (Why, No Holds Barred, This Short, No Budget, Latecoming Hamont Musical and Pink Is In Live!) have accepted these challenges. Let’s dive in!
Pink is in Live! is a TV-series-turned-theatre-show that lets us sit in on a group therapy session with an eccentric group of inmates and staff of Chatsworth Women’s Prison. The entire ensemble is full of energetic character acting, comedy and delightful storytelling. I was expecting that a piece transitioning from the world of film and television would lack the energy required for live performance and golly, was I wrong!
Margaret Lamarre as Granny BJ’s perfectly embodies the picture of a horny, washed up, almost star. Natasha Bromfield is LaShawndra; the optimistic, somewhat oblivious therapist serves as a simple foil for the hijinks of the other characters. Sarah Hime as Kitty Kat makes smart acting choices, even when she is not speaking to create an element of surprise during her time to shine. Lisa Crawford as Nezrenko provides a flatness and dryness in her humour that balances some of the more gregarious performances within the ensemble. Darren Stewart-Jones is captivating as Ruby LaRue, and effectively plays off the other characters on stage as an incarcerated drag queen. Kim Lomard as Pip Barnett comes in like a whirling dervish with a strong physical comedy. Kyla McCall’s performance as Warden Dungworth creates an intriguing balance between desperation and control. And finally Goldy Locks as Gia sits quietly in the corner with her tiny dog not upstaging the show and adding to the general wackiness of this collection of humans.
This ensemble has clearly worked together before. I was glad to see the production team employ a large ensemble of actors because in a time when most productions are looking to cut costs and maximize profits, large ensembles can increase the diversity of representation and help build the ecology of the theatre for working actors. This is something I love to see. The scope of the stories told within this twenty minute piece is truly impressive.