Reviews - Fringe 2016

Fringe 2016 Review: Perpetual Sunshine Machine

By Jessica Rose
Published July 18, 2016

  • Playwright: Bryan Boodhoo
  • Director: Bryan Boodhoo
  • Cast: Carlos Jimenez, Kathleen Dodd
  • Warnings: Mature Content
  • Show Type: Comedy, Drama
  • Audience: General
  • Running Time: 50 minutes
  • When spectators of Perpetual Sunshine Machine arrive at the Theatre Aquarius Studio, they're greeted by chaos. On the stage, strewn with gadgets and books, they find Xavier, a constant tinkerer, who moves from experiment to experiment with an expression of worry fixed on his face.

    Equally as worried is Xavier's sister, Emma, who tries all she can to convince her brother to leave his home to comply with psychiatric appointments. "You seem so lost," she says, in one of her many moments of distress. However, Xavier is focused on only one thing. He's building a perpetual sunshine machine, a contraption that mines sunshine like gold, rendering gold markets obsolete.

    It's easy to write Xavier off as a mad scientist, but Bryan Boodhoo's thoughtful script reveals the complexity behind Xavier's obsession: His parents were killed while working in the gold industry. Xavier believes his perpetual sunshine machine will spare others a similar fate.

    Steeped in loss, Perpetual Sunshine Machine is unique from start to finish thanks to a memorable script and two actors who share obvious chemistry. It may be a two-person show, but it's dominated by a third, invisible character - Xavier's mental illness.

    Perpetual Sunshine Machine is billed as a comedy and drama, but the comedic bits are few and far between. Rather, it's an emotional play about the dynamics between two siblings each grappling with the loss of their parents in their own way.

    Since earning a degree in journalism from Carleton University, Jessica Rose has written for publications in Hamilton and across Canada. Her book reviews have appeared in many magazines, including Quill and Quire, Room, Ricepaper, This, the Humber Literary Review, and on Jessica sits on the board of gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival. She writes "Shelf Life," Hamilton Magazine's books column and she's also a senior editor for the upcoming Hamilton Review of Books. You can find her blogging on her website, Not My Typewriter, and the Hamilton Arts Council.


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