Reviews - Fringe 2009

This is the Thing

By Tom Mackan
Published July 21, 2009

Written and performed by Jeff Jones

Jones sets himself a load to haul in his hour of intimacy with us. The story he tells begins in fragments and emotion, all undefined and unfocused. Alone, he tells us, in a room full of people. At the opening he is caught in his own hot light gasping and struggling; abruptly it ends and he turns deeply distraught away from us.

And then begins the telling, a series of rational expositions intermittently disrupted by explosions of anger and unexplained shame, of simple lives of good family and of growing up in Ontario and of song.

Details of delightful boyhood things - his first ride in an elevator sparkles with real childlike astonishment, then ends in a moment of ugly violence. Contradictions like this mount and sometimes become grimly uncomfortable.

At one point he forces us to see that our moments of complete communion with each other are often achieved through unspeakable common understandings.

Jones is a song-writer. His music is articulate and emotionally driven. There comes that time in the performance when he confronts the defining tragedy from which all his issues erupt ... and we understand.

An emotionally demanding hour, but one of ultimate reward.


Tom Mackan is Publisher and editor of NEWZY BITZ, an online Community Theatre newsletter in the GHA, with over 200 subscribers. He is a Member of the Board, Theatre Burlington; an actor and director in GHA Community Theatre for fifty years; winner of over 25 awards and citations in the Western Ontario region and beyond; recipient of 2007 City of Hamilton Arts Award (Theatre); a Graduate of Canadian Theatre School (Sterndale Bennett) Toronto, 1955; and a retired teacher of English and Drama in public and private schools in the GHA and abroad.


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