Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Fringe Review: Vagabond

Who: Glass Wall Theatre
What: Vagabond
Length: 30 Minutes
WhereHamilton Fringe Festival Digital Exclusives Series
When: July 15-25, 2021
Tickets: From $5 -$20 via the Hamilton Fringe Festival Box Office

Glass Wall Theatre’s Vagabond is a rough and beautiful two-hander about siblings facing big questions. Jacky (played by playwright Chelsea Haraburda) is running away from home to stay in the woods when she calls her older brother, Russ (played by technical director Ryan Percival), for a rescue. The slow reveals in Haraburda’s script are tactful as we watch the siblings approach a similar problem very differently.

It’s a coming out story. As coming out is not a one-time event, and as its importance and meaning shifts according to the personalities involved, this play explores the fear and questions that hang over the characters’ heads. Is omitting truths the same as lying?

Unfortunately, a 30-minute play cannot dig deep enough into such major themes. Vagabond is nearly at risk of biting off more than it can chew. Its emotionally rich brevity may be an invitation for audiences to explore and celebrate themselves. A function which is well served by a cathartic celebratory drag cameo from Jacky’s personae, Jackson Cohen, at the very end.

Vagabond is wonderful to look at. Percival’s technical direction provides a multimedia experience that marries this fringe’s digital world with theatre as we’ve known it. The design is sharply cut and comes across as campy, careful, alive, and cartoonish all at once.

The play could have benefitted from more rehearsal. Some moments even felt improvisational. Though the actors were able to flex strong emotional muscles, more polish may have provided deeper nuance to this deserving subject matter.

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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