Review by Danny Gaisin
Bryce Declan’s HOMEMADE FUSION may be plot-less and set-less but it is a fascinating and definitely challenging undertaking by the half-dozen singer/actors who are staging it at Hamilton’s STAIRCASE THEATRE. The fourteen episodic songs deal with relationships and emotions…all are presentationally demanding. The compositions radically change key and the prose/poetry lyrics rarely scan. Yet the whole effort succeeds.
Folding chairs (and their re-positionings) are the only props. In many cases, the soloist stands before the audience and then must sell his or her song. Fortunately, the sextet has the innate ability to utilize facial expression as well as sincerity to underscore the joy, pathos or sentiment endemic to the piece. Some of the works are more than just a little moving. ‘Lucy’s Laugh’, performed by Justin Martins deals with (perhaps) unrequited affection; “Can’t I just be” touches every listener; while Chelsea Duckworth’s “Out of my Head” and Veronica Klebert’s “I think he Likes me” both pack an emotional punch.
There are some comedic episodes. Macey Scullion straight-faces a complaining partner’s litany of what he won’t do in bed. Director Brett Kelly dramatically paraphrases fear in his ‘Lost in the Waves’ number; while Klebert’s paean to a certain chocolate bar and it’s co-habitués of the dispensing machine, is worthy of a YouTube exposure. The temp’/Receptionist dialogue between Scullion & Donny Crosswell is another hoot.
The musical accompaniment by Gab Sid, and lighting/sound/stage manager Rebecca Kilburn bring a professional feel to the production and also act as subtle cues for the cast members. We saw it in preview, yet had only a few minor suggestions for a final polishing. The summer Fringe season approaches and HOMEMADE FUSION, with its feel and style, will certainly give audiences an incentive to start planning their trips to the upcoming Toronto Festival, or even take in some of the local Fringes.
HOMEMADE FUSION is at the Staircase Theatre, 27 Dundurn St. N tonight (Friday) and Saturday. Curtain time -8pm. Call 905-529-3000