Reviews - Fringe 2016

Pardon My French, The Tales of a Parisian Mom in Canada

By Mackenzie Kristjon Jenkyns
Published July 21, 2016

Pardon My French is a very funny one-woman production that examines the true stories of Iris Gardet-Hadengue who moved to Canada in recent years from her home in France.

Her husband has landed a good job in Toronto and they decide that she will leave her job in France so the family with their two young sons can forge a new destiny filled with maple syrup, hockey, and beer. Or at least free health care.

I have to admit I'm a sucker for a French accent so I might have loved this anyway. Nonetheless, Iris's Second City training was clear. Iris was funny and well-poised, and the delivery was fresh and fun. The music was appropriate, and the simple prop (a nice chair/throne) quickly became a shopping cart and so on.

In a very slick Second City/Hamilton line, she explained that she was going to meet the French Ambassador to Canada in Toronto and was soooo excited. To explain her enthusiasm, she quipped, "What would be the same thing in Hamilton? Martin Short?"

Ahhhh. A woman after my own heart. I swooned.

The sorts of stories she tells are not specifically related to the immigration experience, aside from some of the decision-making at the beginning, and even those are ones for which anyone can relate. She has to deal with an overbearing mother, for example. (Waitaminit. Do I sense foreshadowing?)

Primarily she is dealing with everyday things like kids competing with other kids for the coolest birthday party in the neighborhood, being an obsessive helicopter mom, and as a hypochondriac, spending too much time in our three waiting room clinic system.

Stress leads (as one might imagine) to strained relations in the domicile and Iris needs to do some soul-searching to find her way in this new land.

In the program, she explains that this play was something of a late addition to the play as she had been on the "wait list" and then somehow got a spot. I'm glad she did as I found it very entertaining. Recommended for anyone that has a family or came from a family.

Mackenzie Kristjon is an Icelandic-Canadian singer-songwriter and all around creative force. He has published numerous books including the award-winning Culinary Saga of New Iceland. He also has roots in community radio at CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph. To hear/see/download his music, you can visit thismaddesire.bandcamp.com.

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