PITCH BLOND by Laura Anne Harris (Convection Productions/Next Stage). See listing.
Times: At the Factory Ante-Chamber (125 Bathurst). January 7 and 12 at 8:30 pm, January 13 at 4 and 6:30 pm. $10. 416-966-1062. Rating: NNN
This scaled-down version of Laura Anne Harris's hit Fringe show about actor Judy Holliday has one major thing going for it: intimacy. In the tiny Factory Ante-Chamber space - really, just the small bar next to the Mainstage - Harris exudes warmth and vulnerability as she pours herself a drink, sits on a bar stool and reminisces about her life at arm's distance from much of the audience.
It's a shame that this 30-minute version feels so truncated. In the full-length show, Harris created a fuller picture of Holliday, including her mother's battles with depression. This production focuses on how the Oscar-winning actor (for Born Yesterday) used her dumb blond persona and characteristic squeaky voice while being interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.
This single-minded focus feels narrow, and the ending - a version of the song The Party's Over - comes abruptly, not really earned. What party? But Harris's performance, and under Briana Brown's direction, the subtle use of light and sound, still work some magic.