Fringe Review: Bibi & the Beast’s “R.S.V.P.” invites you to join the matrimonial wild ride


Vanessa Kneale and Héloïse Binette in “R.S.V.P.”
(Photographer: Kathy Slamen)

Vana has waited and planned for her big day for years, and as you can expect something goes terribly wrong. It is up to her eccentric best friend, Bibi “Bang-Bang” to make it all better. Or for worse? This interactive and intense 45-min burst from both sides is sure to make you laugh and rire.

As a new Montréal resident, seeing a completely bilingual play is still bewildering. I am proud to say that I was able to enjoy Bibi’s wild (spoken French) introduction and then breathe a sigh of relief when Vana entered speaking only English. It was enjoyable to hear the audience react to jokes in both languages, something you wouldn’t see in any other province.

Without much of a set, a simple wedding arbor stood center, it was really the costumes that were stand-out. Vana’s wedding dress was immaculate and perfectly obtrusive, with a full cathedral length veil and a royal wave as she welcomed her guests. Bibi’s colourful tulle-stuffed cocktail number was matched by her exuberant personality, and wig. Not to mention the costume changes that Bibi went through, including her final look (you’ll have to go see the show to see what I mean, it includes wedding cake).

Vanessa Kneale and Héloïse Binette in “R.S.V.P.”
(Photographer: Kathy Slamen)

The high intensity and anxiety of the show was felt across the audience, also because of the way the women included the “wedding guests” throughout. Before the wedding could begin, Bibi’s acknowledgment of attendees, including the bride’s mother, made us all feel invited. Vana walked down her aisle gracefully past us, nodding to some, thanking for their attendance to her wedding. Once she was finished her pageantry, you could sense the heavy importance she placed on this momentous event.

The anxiety was expelled from Vana in high pitched and low guttural screams, comedically extending her noises just a little too long for reactions. Bibi’s reactions to the plot’s twist were more physical, running across the stage in her little heels, staring at the audience in bewilderment, pulling at her curls.

The wild ride climbed and climbed, levelling out with Vana’s beautiful feminist pro-wedding monologue. I really enjoyed the show’s comedic conception of how differently women can view marriage, staying at home, playing housewife. Bibi’s anti-monogamous flirty personality contradicted Vana’s commitment to commitment very well. The bride powerfully commanded the stage, preaching to her guests waving her hands about as a spotlight dawned on her angelically.

The show’s burlesque spin was the icing on the so-to-speak wedding cake, alighting the audience into a frenzy of applause and cheers. Bibi’s last straw to help distract her poor friend is successful, no one in the room remembers why Vana was distraught. Her natural energy and crowd-pleasing nuances are feminine, vivacious and at times, perfectly comedic. For my first burlesque experience, I felt empowered and bewildered, grinning as I walked out of Petit Campus.

Be prepared: the audience is along for the ride, and you could possibly be included in their riot. Especially if you’re un mec charmant.

For the monogamists, polygamists, noncommittals and bilinguals.

Bibi & The Beast presents R.S.V.P.
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 7 – 16, 2019
Venue: 02 – Petit Campus
57 Prince-Arthur E., Montréal, H2X 1B4
Admission: $10 – 12 | Ages 18+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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Check out all our other 70+ reviews 
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!

Molly Barrieau

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