by Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen
June 19, 2010

Monologue about boring jobs, just boring
Every Job I’ve Ever Had

Barry Smith

Imagine spending an hour with someone who’s held nothing but dead end jobs — dishwasher, data entry clerk, crayon maker — and who insists on describing each one. Then he pulls out old family photo albums. To this he adds clips from childhood home movies. Eyes glazed yet? Just why Barry Smith, whose previous shows like Jesus in Montana have been well-received, thinks a multimedia-assisted monologue about the cavalcade of meaningless jobs he’s held while pursuing his arts interests makes an enticing show is beyond reckoning. Some audience members did find him hilarious. Others wished he’d just become a reclusive accountant. At SAW Gallery until June 26.

Quirky, funny trip into world of superheroes
Heroes Past and Present

Artellephant Productions

Melvin Maples, a former RCMP constable, can forever thank a stampeding buffalo herd. Their action transformed him, in one of those comic book bits of inexplicable alchemy, into the Canadian Crusader, a caped if tentative superhero. He’s just one of the stars of this quirky and funny excursion into the world of those with extra-human powers including the stars of Greek myth and a powerful, moral medieval Barbarian. A unique glove puppet show, the play takes an ancient storytelling formula of the quest — monster to be slain, self-discovery — and gooses it until it has appeal for those with a good sense of irony. Like many Fringe shows, it’s a tad too long. In the Ottawa Public Library auditorium until June 26.

Despite gripping moments, play fails to redeem itself
It’s Just a Stage

Modern Geek Theatre

The battle Ottawa’s Ken Godmere waged with degenerative brain disease a few years back was clearly a desperate one. Which doesn’t automatically make for good theatre. In fact, while one applauds his recovery from the disease, it’s considerably harder to do the same for his solo production. Godmere takes us through the downward spiral of his illness including its crippling effect on his efforts to open an improv comedy club. Problem is, the whole thing is as wobbly as the comedy club set he spends far too much time erecting at the beginning of this show. Friday night, he also needed multiple line prompts from offstage — odd, considering the script is about his own life. Despite the show’s occasional gripping moments, the redemptive note that ends it doesn’t redeem the piece itself. At Arts Court Theatre until June 26.

— Patrick Langston

The festival continues until June 27 at downtown locations. Schedule and tickets: Box Office, 2 Daly Ave., Room 100; 613-232-6162; www.ottawafringe.com.