Reviews - Fringe 2019

Hamilton for Beginners

By Bryan Boodhoo
Published August 06, 2019

Mark McNeil came to Hamilton from Toronto in the 1990's pre-dating the current wave of Toronto emigrants. He originally moved to Hamilton for work, namely to be a report for The Hamilton Spectator. Needless to say, he's seen a lot. He also has the benefit of being both an insider and outsider to the City.

Through storytelling and songs with his ukulele, McNeil entertains the audience with nostalgia about Hamilton, and reminds us what a truly bizarre and beautiful place this is, be "the biggest small town on the planet".

Kudos must be given to McNeil for not only rendering a completely entertaining performance, but for also giving us a show that perfectly matched the format of the gallery series. At twenty minutes, this was the right about of nostalgia. Any more, I'm not sure I would have had such a sympathetic view of the ukulele. And less, and I question whether it's worth my time and money to come to this show.

Hamilton for Beginners is more a whimsical presentation about Hamilton, but it is very much enjoyable and worth watching. It is always nice to see our City reflected in our culture.

Bryan Boodhoo is a Hamilton-based playwright, director, short fiction writer and lawyer. His plays have been produced in Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Hamilton. He is also part of the Theatre Aquarius Playwright's Unit. His most recent play, "G-Star Live's Notes from IKEA Burlington" is playing at Evergreen Hamilton Community Storefront (294 James St. North) as part of the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Gallery series.


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