By Jay Menard
Absurd? Surreal? Avante Garde? Ingrid Hansen and Stephanie Morin-Robert’s The Merkin Sisters truly defies classification — other than to say it’s a perfect example of what Fringe theatre is at its best, and it’s a must-see on this year’s London Fringe circuit.
That said, make sure you bring two things with you when you see this show: an open mind and a sense of playfulness. The two women go to any and all lengths to deliver an uproariously funny and quirky show that’s part variety, part dance, part comedy, and all entertainment.
If a Salvador Dali painting came to life on a Fringe stage, it would be the Merkin sisters.
The best part of the Merkin Sisters is that it’s not absurd just for the sake of absurdity — there’s a meaning behind every moment. Though it’s presented in a way that suggest random chance, both women clearly have refined this show and act (and react) with absolute precision.
And there are subtle underlying messages that cut through the quirk. For those of us who abhor pretentious artists — you know, the ones who say the work art in verbal italics — The Merkin Sisters cleverly satirizes those pretensions. Contemporary dance and spoken word, in particular, were presented with a wink and a smile.
The show, as a whole, presents the idea that art doesn’t have to be stuffy or rigid. There’s a beauty in the absurd, fun isn’t frivolous, and creativity and joy have as much place on stage as any other discipline.
It’s a must-see show with so many memorable moments and visuals. The women are wonderful performers who have an incredible range of skills. You’ll walk away smiling, laughing, and never able to listen to Seal’s Kiss from a Rose the same way again!
***** — Five out of five stars
This review was originally posted on theatreinlondon.ca