You figure that if you throw a dart at the Fringe schedule and hit A Momentary Lapse (this year’s Fringe offering from the top-notch local troupe Teatro La Quindicina) you got a lucky hit, right? Not necessarily. While you truly cannot go wrong with a 13 buck ticket to any Teatro production—always quirky, always inventive, always choc-a-bloc with talented Edmonton actors—this year’s summertime offering from resident playwright Stewart Lemoine (and co-author Jocelyn Ahlf) is just … meh?
The 75-minute comedy, playing at the Varscona, is the chronicle of two unlikely citizens—played beautifully by the always great Jocelyn Ahlf (last seen breaking our hearts in Plain Jane Theatre’s Fun Home) and likewise likeable Luc Tellier (a gifted actor and increasingly great physical comedian)—whose lives become intertwined through a shared breach of the criminal code. Ahlf’s character is an overachieving mom, speedy typist, band flautist and saleswoman at the Bay’s cosmetics counter. Tellier is a high-school student unimpressed by pretty much everything, and with a penchant for lighting things on fire. In the mix is the droll Mathew Hulshof, who appears now and then as The Law, the school principal and the flight attendant (in an especially funny moment).
While the central pair take us first from the story’s end (clad in orange jumpsuits and shackled together) to an explanation of how we got to this place (funny bits as the high school girlfriend, school counsellor, cosmetics counter customer), the sum of the vignettes isn’t fully satisfying. I just didn’t fully buy-in.
A Momentary Lapse was first staged by Teatro 14 years ago, and while it’s worth dusting off past works for another go, this one isn’t at the top of my list. But if the packed opening night crowd is an indication, my lack of enthusiasm won’t much matter.
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