by Lynn on April 27, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the Five Points Theatre in Barrie, Ont, produced by Talk Is Free Theatre. Run: April 26-29, 2023.

Created and performed by Vanessa Smythe

Dramaturgical support by Mitchell Cushman

Vanessa Smythe has backache. Her physiotherapist suggested energetic street dancing type exercise to alleviate the pain. So, she squatted down, put one hand on the ground, put both legs out, on the ground and the legs scurried in a circle around the one hand. She also kicked her legs in the air, did stretches and then jumped up to stand on her two feet. She was breathless and smiling. She is also pregnant and due in June. I sucked air slowly and hoped that ‘the little heartbeat in there” (as she refers to her impending baby) would not agitate the waters and burst forth before the end of the show.

Vanessa Smythe is a charming, personable performer.  She talks about memories she had when she was in grade two. She might have played the flute when she was really young and thought that ‘talent’ would look good on a resumé when she was auditioning for an acting job. The reality of that talent is hilarious in her carefully tempered, nuanced telling.

She speaks of discovering her love of poetry when she meets and is smitten by a poet who changes her life in a way, through poetry. She talks about her love of family—goofy, sweet, moving. And she talks about the startling appearance of raging hormones after six weeks of being pregnant. The weeping, the emotions, the fragile feelings that can be evoked just by saying “Valentine’s Day” and her loving husband, who has been working, and did the worst thing possible—(I can’t bring myself to say what that is). It’s all handled with Vanessa Smythe’s gracious, open-hearted, loopy sense of humour. The segues flow naturally and with ease. The observations are clear, inventive and perceptive.

She saves the last comments of this wonderful, thoughtful show, for “The little heartbeat in there.” When that little heartbeat decides to be born, that will be one loved kid.

Talk Is Free Theatre Presents:

Run: April 26-29, 2023

Running Time: 1 hour (no intermission)

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