Reviews - Fringe 2017

Chiaroscuro

By Daniel O.W. Smith
Published July 18, 2016

This strange little show is an easy way to hit on a bit of enlightenment in a small span of time.

An elderly artist, alone and unable to complete an important work, takes in a few guests to whom he extends his hospitality, details his modest body of work, and bequeaths a few cookies. The performance is endearing.

The humour is that of a stubbornly eccentric friend. For the sentimental among us, the emotional content and moving soundtrack may provide shivers.

The artist's paintings, which play a central role as a creative storytelling device and means of character development, are also mostly jokes.

Themes of loss and yearning are well developed for a 20-minute show, and everyone is made to feel welcome.

Held in the cozy b contemporary art gallery and frame shop on James North, Chiaroscuro makes very effective use of the space, maximizing the sense that you've briefly entered another geographic location, removed entirely from downtown Hamilton.

Muffled voices from the sidewalk, of people coming in and out of busy neighbouring cafes and bars, only enhances the effect.

Chiaroscuro creates a simpler, warmer space and time, utterly removed from commotion and industry, allowing for a brief, humorous meditation on the creative drive.

Daniel O.W. Smith is a writer and editor who lives in Hamilton and comes from Maine. Feel free to get in touch via email.

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