We really hope you saw The Swearing Jar by Kate Hewlett (pictured) at the Fringe, because it just had its last performance yesterday evening. Funny, compelling, and at times heartbreakingly sad, Hewlett’s top-notch script (developed in the 2007 Tarragon Playwrights Unit) was brilliantly brought to life with Geoffrey Pounsett’s direction and an absolutely perfect cast.
Carey and Simon are a happy young couple about to become parents. Without giving too much away, there is a terrible secret between the two and, eventually, another man in the form of Owen, an awkward yet charming bookstore employee and guitar teacher. It all comes together in a birthday party for Simon in which Carey performs songs she has written to express her feelings.
Hewlett’s characters are all a lovely combination of realistic and highly likable. Janet Porter is extremely relatable as Carey and Andrew Pifko’s charming and witty Simon has the audience in love with him as much as Carey is. Christopher Stanton’s Owen manages to make socially awkward adorable and Kyra Harper as Bev, Simon’s mother, is bitchy and fabulous while always terribly human. With its screamingly funny and poignant dialogue, superb cast, and generally well-realized production, The Swearing Jar is easily one of the strongest shows at this year’s Fringe. In fact, if the show’s one-hour running time were extended a bit, it’s not difficult to imagine it as part of the Tarragon’s regular season. Hopefully, we have not seen the last of this funny, beautiful piece.
It’s the last day of the Fringe today, which means it’s also the time you can catch the Patron’s Pick shows, the plays that have been the highest-attended at each Fringe venue. At 6:00 p.m. at St. Vlad’s, there’s Between Commutes, a sketch comedy show about transit hilarity. Then at 6:15 p.m. at the George Ignatieff, there’s Damages, a drama about Holocaust survivors. At 6:45 p.m., you could see The Movies (abridged) at the Passe Muraille mainspace; Greg Landucci’s Mr. Fox at the Factory Studio; or Wake, the winner of this year’s Fringe’s New Play Contest, at the Tarragon extra space. At 7:30 p.m., the fabulous Domestic plays at the Passe Muraille back space (which we reviewed here). At 9:15 p.m., you’ve got the one-man show One Woman Show at the Robert Gill, Zac Efron–parody Nursery School Musical at the Factory main space, creepy fairytale Bluebeard at the Tarragon main space, and finally Gameshow: The Musical at Royal St. George’s.
Photo by Gordon Dumka.