A fun, light-hearted night of storytelling is what is in store for you, should you attend A Woman’s Guide to Peeing Outside and Other Adventures. With personal stories strung together with the theme of peeing outdoors, this show successfully feels like we are listening to the backstory of the writing of this survival guide. Holly Brinkman (writer & performer) and director Andrew Barrett bring the world premiere of this production all the way from Victoria, BC, but luckily for Montreal audiences, some of it is set in our lovely city.
In the back room of Pompette, Brinkman holds a thick book with a bunch of pages flagged. She moves between reading excerpts, giving background knowledge through stories, and grooving to songs from her life. On top of this, we are given lessons on gender performativity, and I am reminded of how lucky I am to be in Montreal. It seems most people here understand that gender and sexuality are fluid and, as we were encouraged to chant, THAT’S OKAY! I really enjoyed the refreshing messages and the approach that Brinkman took towards discussing gender.
As we follow Brinkman through her childhood as a girl scout in a small, secluded town, to raves on logging roads, through her travels, and as a student at McGill, we learn that there is a strong connection for her to peeing outside and important life moments. This connection comes from the moments in her life where it becomes obvious that she is living in a world that favours men, and that manifests itself in making it difficult for her to urinate.
Barrett’s decision to place the audience in the context of something that felt a lot like a public reading worked well, but became confusing when music would start to play. Every time music was used, we were reminded that we were indeed not at a public reading, but witnessing a storyteller pretend that she wrote a book. The songs chosen were terrifyingly relatable to a point where I found myself wanting for the song to end because I knew exactly where it was going – but also contemplating how these choices landed for audience members who didn’t have their first slow dance to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
Brinkman is a lovely storyteller who knows how to get a laugh. She is well spoken, though on opening night may have felt a little rushed, and her attachment to the material is evident in her enthusiasm.
She also understands her mission: to teach her audience the importance of a Pee Buddy. In a world where women face taller, more slippery barriers than men, Brinkman reminds us that working together, being there for each other, and lifting up (or holding up, if you are peeing on the side of a canal in Amsterdam), is key for women to get through this world. This is a great message and why I would encourage you to see this show. We all need a Pee Buddy, and regardless of gender, should try to be a Pee Buddy for others.
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor Madison Jolliffe
Holly Brinkman presents
“A Woman’s Guide to Peeing Outside and Other Adventures”
When: June 2-17, 2017
Where: Pompette, 4128 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Duration: 60 minutes
Box Office: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
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