JIMMY by Marie Brassard (Buddies in Bad Times/Infrarouge). Runs to December 18. See Continuing Theatre listings for details. Rating: NNNNN
Set high in a room that seems to float in space, Marie Brassard 's haunting, surreal solo show Jimmy breaks our collective heart and at the same time invigorates us with the magic of theatre.
The audience first sees the performer, naked back to the audience, and hears sobs and weeping.
The figure is Jimmy, a gay hairdresser created in the dream of a 50s general who died just as Jimmy bent to kiss his beautiful customer Mitchell.
In limbo for half a century, Jimmy's reborn, again in a dream - but this time that of a Montreal female performer.
For the next 75 minutes, Brassard holds viewers entranced with a series of interconnected figures and stories, including a surprising younger version of Jimmy.
Her expressive face provides some of the pictures, but so, ironically, does the mic'd speech, which allows her to change character with the flip of a technician's switch. It's eerie how her voice morphs at times; there's a gravelly line or two as she makes the transition from one figure to another, a moment that's both shocking and absolutely right.
First seen here a few years ago in the Six Stages Festival, Jimmy is still a knockout production.
Playing with gender, homophobia, the nature of dreams and creativity (how does one create? how is one created?), Brassard knows that a tiny gesture or half a line of text can suggest a world of meaning.
With laconic, dry humour, a few theatrical tricks and a touch of postmodernism, she draws the audience into a series of Russian-doll scenarios that circle onto themselves and are alternately claustrophobic and liberating.
A world-class, impeccable piece of theatre, not to be missed.