DEEP FRIED CURRIED PEROGIES
Venue 6, Off Broadway Arts Centre
31/2 / 5 Stars
by Shannon Boklaschuk
The show must go on.
Michelle Todd proved that old adage on Friday night, when
a summer storm caused the electricity to go out at Off Broadway
Arts Centre. Did Todd flee from the stage, upset at her bad
luck? Not a chance. She performed much of her one woman show
by candlelight, with a flashlight shining in her face. That
deserves kudos, and the audience was impressed with her determination.
With tea light candles casting a warm glow on the stage, Todd
continued to give it her all during the course of Deep Fried
Curried Perogies. In addition to lighting problems, she also
worked through technical issues involving the music with poise
and confidence. She's the kind of performer who doesn't need
electricity -- her presence lights up the room.
So what is the play about? Deep Fried Curried Perogies is
a memoir about Todd's life growing up in Edmonton with a Jamaican
father and a Filipino mother. The play was born when Todd
and her boyfriend -- who's of British and Ukrainian heritage
-- learned they were having a baby together. The prospect
of motherhood prompted Todd to ask questions about multiculturalism,
ethnicity, her roots and what it means to be Canadian.
"What if I have to make my son food for ethnic day at school?
What am I going to make? Deep Fried Curried Perogies?"
Todd writes in her bio.
"How does one raise a Canadian? And just what does that
mean exactly?" Although the show focused on some serious
questions, much of Deep Fried Curried Perogies is humorous (there's
a dance sequence that's particularly enjoyable). If the show
has any weaknesses, however, it's that it goes on a bit too
long and becomes a tad repetitive. It also lacks cohesion, with
Todd flashing back to various ages and experiences without a
Still, Todd is a gifted storyteller and her play is funny and
thought-provoking. Deep Fried Curried Perogies is worth seeing.