By Jay Menard
Portland-based due Amica Hunter and David Cantor, of A Little bit Off, have quickly become Fringe Favourites, with such hilarious and inventive shows like Beau and Aero, and Bella Culpa. Their shows are wonderfully creative, slightly askew, and always endearing.
Bad Habits is no different — it’s a devillishly funny show that doesn’t religiously adhere to structure.
Cantor plays Sister Florence, a severe, traditional nun who is in charge of bringing new women to the convent. Hunter is Marjorine, a young, quirky woman, who is quick to embrace the faith, but a little slow on understanding the rules. Marjorine joins the convent and causes her fair share of headaches — whether it’s dealing with the temptation of the “bad book,” messing up communion, or dreaming her way through prayer, she’s a hilarious thorn in Sister Florence’s side.
Cantor does double duty as one of the most revealing devils you’ll ever seen — but one that’s not overly effective in bringing terror to the faithful.
The highlight of the show is Cantor and Hunter’s interaction with the audience and each other. They don’t just break the fourth wall — they obliterate and then barely acknowledge that it ever existed in the first place. They deal with technical challenges — either of their own design or actually accidents — with aplomb and hilarity. And the line between what’s intended chaos and what’s accidental chaos is completely blurred.
But honestly? Who cares? The show is so fun, the duo is so personable, and their performance and presentation are so brilliant that whether the mistakes are intentional or not, they become an integral part of the show.
The show may be a work in progress, but embracing its faults has been a stroke of genius, and too much editing would be an error. It’s sense of barely controlled chaos is brilliant and it allows the performers’ personalities to shine through.
Whether you believe or not, Cantor and Hunter’s God-given talent (or talent derived from whatever deity in whom you believe or scientific principle to which you adhere) must be experienced and the free-flowing style of Bad Habits provides for a hilariously religious experience.