With an unambiguous black couch, and a purple microfiber pillow depicting 80s cartoon legend He-Man and Skeletor (complete with Velcro-removable sword) brightening up the stage, The Get Together pulled off a storytelling reminiscence that made me wince, burst out laughing and miss days gone by.
The Get Together gathers four former best friends from college, whose better days seem behind them, as they navigate an anniversary of a friend’s passing. Through comedy and nostalgic storytelling, the group remembers their original, and sometimes crude connections.
Nichol’s script is clearly developed, decisive and full of inside jokes, packed with fantastical, rude stories that remind audiences of their own youth-fuelled accounts. It was successfully able to hold your curiosity on why they had met, and what really happened, some ten years after losing their friend. In an ideal world, Nichol would have had more time to work with the lines, develop pacing, and take pause when the moments grew sobering.
The Get Together aimed to grasp audiences, make them laugh, then make them cry. However, the entertaining stories overshadowed the sadder moments, overlapping onto one another, I had a difficult time feeling the grief the writer perhaps intended. Credit to Joseph Ste-Marie, who played Bill “Rod Man” Rodman, who on opening night, displayed incredible physical emotions to close out the performance.
Nichol completes the impossible task of writing, directing and performing the lead role (Jamie) of the play, making directing scenes a tough feat, creating tense moments of awkward delivery but finishing with dedication to the true grief of lost friends and a lost past.
Michael Aronovitch’s strong performance as “Mike” connected the fierce Carmen (played by Antonia Ruffalo) and embattled Jamie together in a fun and inviting way. His “class clown” attitude made for big laughs that helped break up any opening-night jitters. His KISS Montreal concert tee and backwards hat creates an undeniably rebellious spirit and raucous energy for his role.
For character development, it seems Mike has the most well-rounded story post-college, but I do wish that Carmen was given the same amount of time and success. She played off her male counterparts well, balancing the testosterone-heavy vibe with one-liners and possibly the best “story” of the night.
My tip: loosen up and laugh. This play wants to bring into the open such sudden and sad moments, yet it is the humour that makes this piece lively and enticing. While the stories feel exaggerated, almost that as we grow further from our younger selves, we remember less of the truth and more of what we wish happened. Did these crazy stories really happen? Do we retell them with exuberance for the laughs, and is the retelling more fun than the original?
“WHO IT’S FOR”
For Montreal-raised festival-goers who want to relive and remember stories that last a lifetime.
MapsCastle presents “The Get Together”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Performances: June 6 – June 15, 2019
Venue: 09 – Club Espagnol
4388 Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2W 1Z5
Admission: $12 | Ages 16+
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from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!