Friday, September 22, 2023

Frost Bites Review: Show Home

Who: Lead Creator Carlyn Rhamey, Creation Ensemble, Mainstream Niagara and L’Arche participants
What: Show Home
Length: 45 minutes
Bernie Morelli Rec Centre (876 Cannon Street East)
When: Remaining shows February 19 & 20, 2023 at 1pm
Tickets: $15.50
To Buy Tickets:

There are many sides to every story. Even in the most traditional fairy tales, retelling the events from another character’s perspective can change the story drastically. The only way to get a complete picture is to see the perspective of everyone involved—and while that’s not always necessary in fiction, it’s vitally important in real life.

Such is the case with accessibility and disabilities: an important subject that all too frequently gets ignored. There’s a wide variety of people who each need a different kind of support, there’s the people working hard to provide that support, and then there’s the friends and family of the supported individuals. All of them have stories to tell, and each of those stories is equally worth telling.

Show Home was created with that very goal in mind: to tell the multitude of stories that emerge from accessibility. It’s a work-in-progress showcase of a larger, more ambitious project, intended to develop into a hybrid workshop-show that gives voice to many of the issues surrounding advocacy and accessibility.

The actual contents of the show vary considerably. Multiple performances are given in the form of character monologues and storytelling, while other segments would be better described as “discussions” or “activities”. The intent is to demonstrate the talents of everyone present, and to share their stories where applicable.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys audience participation, there’s a fair amount of it here. For me, the actual stories felt like the clear highlight of the hour, to the point that any one of them could be developed into a Fringe show on their own. I hope to hear many more—and from many different people—as the project continues to develop.

In its current form, Show Home offers a “relaxed” performance; people are free to get up and walk around, go to the bathroom if they need to, or even try some of the snacks that have been provided. Anything is on the table, as long as it’s not overly disruptive to someone else in the room. In this way, the show puts its money where its mouth is regarding accessibility; it maintains an environment that’s as welcoming as possible for anyone who might care to join in.

On the one hand, it’s fair to say that this isn’t a traditional performance. If you’re looking for a play with a single storyline, narrative arcs, or a solid fourth wall, you won’t find any of that here. On the other hand, the project sets out towards a noble goal, and it clearly has the potential to achieve it in time. If you have any kind of interest in accessibility, or in advocacy for people with disabilities, then Show Home is worth checking out.

Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock is a graduate of McMaster University, Mohawk College and Algonquin College. He's spent nearly all his life in Hamilton, and has been reviewing plays at the Fringe since 2015. He has a passion for writing of all kinds, and loves to combine that with a longtime interest in local theatre.

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