Fringe review: Always Unique, Totally Interesting, Sometimes Mysterious


ALWAYS UNIQUE, TOTALLY INTERESTING, SOMETIMES MYSTERIOUS by Alyson Parovel (Alyson Parovel Productions). At Tarragon Solo Room. July 10 at 3:15 pm, July 11 at 4:45 pm, July 12 at 8 pm, July 13 at 3:30 pm, July 14 at 9:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN

The first letter of each word in the title of this touching solo show spells out AUTISM, the condition performer Alyson Parovel seeks to demystify for audiences through the tale of two sisters.

Parovel alternates between playing Chloe, a high-school-aged teen with autism spectrum disorder, and her neurotypical twin Olivia.

Parovel focuses on Chloe, making her an extremely likeable and relatable character shes obsessed with recycling and cracks very funny environmentalism-themed jokes. Chloe explains in direct address the ups and downs of her condition, how she tries to manage these and how they affect her and her family.

Chloe goes into detail about how she relies on routine and straightforward communication from others to feel comfortable but is prone to outbursts she calls meltdowns when experience deviates.

Olivias scenes take the form of one half of a conversation with a therapist to vent about living with Chloe she considers Chloe her best friend but struggles to communicate with her on that level.

The one issue with this important, moving and never didactic show is that scenes featuring Chloe are performed with Parovel sitting on the floor, which makes for difficult viewing in the Tarragons solo room.

This emotional character study is an effective tool for public communication about the behavioural aspects of life on the spectrum, and for fostering empathy with all those touched by it.



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