Reviewed by on    Ottawa Fringe 2012  

Coming to the Gladstone, Dec. 27-28-29

vernus_says_surprise_2 Vernus says Surprise!    Technology can speed communication. Ask all the folks who cannot bear to be separated from their BlackBerrys, iPads, cellphones etc. But, for the generations that are more familiar with the horse-and-buggy era of face-to-face communication, it often results in isolation and confusion.

This is the key message of Ken Godmere’s Vernus Says Surprise, in which he presents a beautifully textured, almost wordless presentation of an 89-year-old man trying to navigate an electronically dominated world to buy a special birthday gift for his granddaughter.

The perfectly timed coordination of movement and soundscape, together with the visual of a shuffling, stooped-back old man with his pants up to his armpits and his too-short tie, create an extremely well conceived, well-executed and moving portrait with – as the title says – a surprise ending.

My only problem with this near-perfect piece is a question of logic. As Vernus demonstrates that he can manage to use an ATM machine (eventually), why does he need cash to shop at the toy store?