Canadian comedy hero Mary Walsh brings some of her classic characters to life in her already completely sold out one-woman show.
Should you see it?
Dancing With Rage is two stories in one; the first is a fairytale about a little girl who grew up next door to her family. The second is all about Marg Delahunty, Princess Warrior. Marg has just found out that she is rapidly going blind and goes searching for the child she gave up after getting knocked up at Expo ’67. Top that off with a heaping helping of topical political humor and Dancing With Rage makes for a very fun production.
There’s no question that Mary Walsh is an extremely charismatic performer. No one can make characters come to life like she can. Throughout the one-woman show, Walsh becomes various members of Marg’s family, a sex-obsessed cab driver, a nun with a speech impediment and more. The climactic scene features at least five characters and a physical scuffle, and at no point does it get confusing. Andy Jones’ co-direction goes a long way in this, but it’s amazing that Walsh barely needs to do more than change her voice and body language to differentiate between her characters.
Walsh’s specialty has always been giving voice to the things that we’re all thinking but are too polite to say out loud, and Dancing With Rage is no different. No politician is safe from Marg’s plastic sword or Walsh’s ferociously witty and timely observations. Walsh isn’t afraid to show some vulnerability as well, especially when she broaches the subject of getting older. Most of her character transformations and costume changes happen right on stage, and it’s an amazing thing to see.
However, Dancing With Rage’s central stories often feel disconnected, like two separate productions stitched together and then padded with funny rants. During one of these rants, I found myself wondering if it had any relation to the plot – only to realize that I didn’t care because I was enjoying the performance so much. I’m just happy to watch Mary Walsh doing what she does best, and I’m sure fans of her work will agree.
Dancing With Rage is hilarious, delightful and carries a surprisingly touching message about motherhood. Good luck getting tickets, though. Dancing With Rage’s run is already completely sold out, so keep an eye out for cancellations!
But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to know what you think. Who was your favorite Mary Walsh character? What did you think of Dancing With Rage’s plot? Let me know in the comments below!
Dancing With Rage runs at the Great Canadian Theatre Company until April 6. Find out more details in our show article.