ALLEGRA & SERENA PRESENT: TWINSATIONS by Sara and Alene Shanazarian (Party Time Productions/Fringe). At Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. July 7 at 1 pm, July 9 at 5 pm, July 10 at 8:15 pm, July 11 at 9:45 pm, July 13 at 6:15 pm, July 14 at 12:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
It’s a simple concept: twin triple threats Allegra and Serena Shanazarian (played by Sara and Alene Shanazarian) are eclipsed all their lives by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. So they document their life-long efforts to carve out their own slice of success in entertainment, performing audition pieces and original songs they claim have landed them final callbacks. But each time they lose out on the star-making roles they covet.
It works because the real-life Shanazarian twins have ample charisma and triple-threat chops to embody these frustrated sisters who are joined at the hip figuratively and, in one bit, literally. There’s a slight B-plot involving an enthusiastic accompanist (Christoph Ibrahim) who is keen to share the spotlight, but the focus is mainly on the sister’s obsession with the Olsens (there’s even a flow chart). Director Valentine Ho ensures that there are just enough cracks in the Twinsations’ best-foot-forward facade that they remain likeable even when their single-minded pursuit seems ludicrous.