Shadows at the Fringe
Shadows at the Ottawa Fringe Written and acted by Margo MacDonald, Shadows is a glimpse into the life of Eva Le Gallienne, the famous British actress producer and director who made her professional life in United States. We see the important periods of her life in rapid flashbacks: her work with her repertory company, her roles in Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland as well as Hamlet and Hedda Gabler, Mainly we have an intimate look at her stormy lesbian relationship with Jo, another actress who was dedicated to Eva but Eva’s own demons get the better of both of them. . Two excellent performances by Sarah Finn as the beautiful Joe and Margo MacDonald as the tortured Eva. The play pinpoints the fact that living as a lesbian, even as a famous actress, was not easy during the first half of the 20th Century.. . MacDonald is captivating and utterly convincing as we watch her live her passion for her work and for Joe and we see her slow degeneration into alcoholism and depression. A plum role for an actress which Ms MacDonald played most beautifully.
Director Diana Fajrajsl created flashsbacks that made the shifts in time very clear, transforming a gas explosion into what looked like a theatrical stage effect so the whole play became a performance within a performance, pinpointing the very nature of Le Gallienne’s life. This is very intelligent and sensitive directing on Fajrajsl’s part. Good set by Lynn Cox and a haunting musical background.
Shadows is the best show Ive seen yet in the Fringe. Be warned. This is not a comedy. Its serious theatre..Plays at the Leonard Beaulne Studio
Alvina Ruprecht Ottawa, June 2010