Ottawa Fringe Festival
“Scaredy Cat” is a charming, self-confessional monologue about a young girl coming of age, who learns to face her myriad fears. Carlyn Rhamey, actor and writer of the show, is likeable, and the show is well-written. At times, the piece felt a bit over-directed (or over-planned), with gestures that appeared more instructed than natural. And Rhamey often lacked focus on her own story, which made the piece itself feel unfocused (although it wasn’t – this is a well-written show).
The issue I had with the piece overall is this: In this age of inundation of self-confessional 60-minute monologues (with a Dramatic Moment at 45 minutes into the piece that gets resolved at about 52 minutes in), what does this specific piece bring to the oeuvre that is original and compelling? It does deal with universal themes (childhood fears, parental relationships, a vaguely uncomfortable moment involving a personal interaction). It’s just that all of these have been addressed many times before in the personal monologue genre. And Scaredy Cat – compared to a lot of the other shows of the same ilk – is good, but it’s also really, really safe. The show remains solidly entrenched in the structure of the genre. It doesn’t push limits or challenge the audience in any way. Not that every piece needs to do that, but with so many people presenting self-confessional monologues at theatre festivals, the ones with high dramatic stakes that break the structural form are the ones that stand out.
However, this is overall a good show, and for an enjoyable hour in the company of a personable storyteller, Scaredy Cat is well worth checking out.