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Theatre Reviews

The first thing is to read the pro­gram warn­ings so you know what you are in for. On sec­ond thought, maybe you shouldn’t, because the peo­ple who might be scared off by the warn­ings are prob­a­bly those would prof­it most from see­ing this won­der­ful production.

Old-timers like me some­times com­plain that the Fringe is not fringey any more, and long for the days when Talk­ing Vul­va” and Mind of the Igua­na” took giant leaps out­side the the­atri­cal norm. Some­thing in the Water” took me back to those heady days.

Some­thing in the Water chal­lenges the idea that we must all con­form to two bina­ry norms, focus­ing on sex­u­al iden­ti­ty. As a left-hand­ed per­son liv­ing in a large­ly right-hand­ed world, though, I found myself iden­ti­fy­ing strong­ly with the main character’s strug­gle (Peo­ple used to try to con­vert” peo­ple like me, but for­tu­nate­ly my par­ents refused to allow it.).

It is dif­fi­cult to put this per­for­mance into words, except to say that we get a tour through pup­petry, video pro­jec­tion, imag­i­na­tive cos­tumes, and audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion (no one joins Grum­mett on stage, but we are all encour­aged to take part vocal­ly and with the hand props hand­ed out as we walk in).

Despite the many ele­ments and con­stant shifts in per­spec­tive and per­for­mance mode, the per­for­mance pro­ceeds at a brisk pace. We watch Bar­bie and Ken go on a date, we see our main char­ac­ter try to assume each of the two bina­ry roles soci­ety push­es on us, and we see the dif­fi­cul­ties the char­ac­ter goes through when try­ing to be authentic.

As much as I loved the whole pro­duc­tion, though, I thought some bits went on just a bit too long: Bar­bie get­ting a swirly, for instance. If you have ever felt a bit dif­fer­ent, and exclud­ed because of that dif­fer­ence, this pro­duc­tion should help you feel more will­ing to be authen­tic to who you are.