Fringe Fest 2014: Little One is riveting and disturbing

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      Anyone with siblings has probably had unkind thoughts about them, but when Aaron calls his sister Claire “a monster,” he really means it: both are adopted, but because Claire’s traumatic early childhood explains her scary behaviour, it’s up to Aaron to be “the good one". Hannah Moscovitch’s clever script is deeply disturbing, but laced with humour (Ottawa is characterized by “the sound of a million people being quiet together”) and surprising twists. Director Ami Gladstone has Marisa Smith play Claire as nearly catatonic, with limp arms, a three-mile stare, and a monotone voice. Aaron’s the sane one, but Daniel Arnold winds his tension tighter and tighter until it explodes. I’m not sure if psychological horror is Moscovitch’s main purpose or if a deeper allegory eluded me, but this production is riveting throughout.

      At the Vancity Culture Lab at the  Cultch on September 7 (3:25 p.m.), 10 (7 p.m.), 12 (6 p.m.), and 13 (3 p.m.).