The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
March 13, 2007
I'd like to start by saying right off the bat that Gemma Wilcox is an amazing performer. I was completely captivated by her performance, and how extraordinarily tight it is. Wilcox has this show down. It is as if she has been touring with this show non-stop for years.
The show is divided into two acts (still just under an hour) and contains more than 20characters—some people, some animals, and a couple of inanimate objects. As I understand it, these two acts are a part of a longer show that is divided into four sections (these are the middle two). The story mostly centers around two couples, I believe that one couple is older than the other. Wilcox moves through the story at a very fast pace so you have to do your best to keep up. At one moment we are listening to a young couple work through their issues and the next we're privy to what a cat might have to say to a hamster or how a saxophone might convince a young woman to express what she's truly feeling.
I remember one time I saw a documentary on Mel Blanc (famed for voicing Bugs Bunny and many other characters) and I was amazed as I watched him talk to himself in so many different voices. That's what it's like watching Wilcox do her thing. She seamlessly moves from character to character and from scene to scene. One of the most striking facets of her performance is her remarkable attention to the slightest nuance of each character's physicality. Instead of trying to create so many vocal distinctions, which with 20-something voices could potentially become convoluted, she uses her incredibly malleable body to create visual distinctions. She walks by leading with her hips or she tilts her head back and slightly to the side or she flips her wrist and strokes her imaginary whiskers. Put together, her vocal and physical distinctions create unforgettable characters.
She also pulls together several complimentary stories to create a single story with a gripping and somewhat touching climax and conclusion. In the story, when an event from the past is brought up, we flashback to catch a glimpse of that event and then we come right back to the present. Wilcox is all over the timeline in this manner and she hops around from fragment to fragment building her story. She utilizes a lot of light changes to help us follow the shifting scenes and the night I saw it they were very effective. I also enjoyed the live sax player (Darius Jones) placed in the audience for one particular scene.
This show reminds me of why I love independent theatre and fringe festivals. All of the shows that I've seen in this FRIGID New York Festival have impressed me. However, if you have the chance to see only one of them make it this show. Gemma Wilcox pours her heart and soul into this show and for me she has raised the standard of independent solo performance.