Something in the Water
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.