Vancouver Fringe Fest review: Fishbowl has a big heart


Loved the show. Bought the T-shirt. Fishbowl is about eccentricity, loneliness, and—here’s the gift—the hidden bonds that connect us. Playwright and solo performer Mark Shyzer offers four characters. High-school science genius Esther usually works alone because “there’s an odd number in our class and I prefer solitude.” Then there’s the old guy who asks his best friend, who’s comatose, “If you could be any kind of vegetable, what would you be?” Add a woman who’s straining for urbanity as she clings to her gay ex-husband, and you start to understand the response of punked-out Ravyn to his stepfather’s insistence that life is short: “I was, like, whatever. Life is, like, the longest thing I’ve ever done.” Shyzer’s performance is skinless and Evalyn Parry’s direction is stylin’. Fishbowl isn’t perfect: the characters share a vocal tick in which they float the last words of their sentences, and it takes a teense too long for their narratives to weave together. But Fishbowl is smart. And it has a big, beautiful—trembling—heart.

At Performance Works on September 8 (6:30 p.m.), 10 (6:30 p.m.), 12 (8 p.m.), 13 (5 p.m.), 14 (10:15 p.m.), and 16 (6 p.m.).

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