When I went to see the late-show performance of Fake News Fangirl at the Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) Backspace last night, I was expecting to see a dark comedy about a fictitious crazed fan. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Well, not about the comedy part at least.
Sharilyn Johnson’s one-woman show (which she wrote and stars in), directed by Laura Harris, is an articulate, funny – and autobiographical – ode to the noble genre that is comedy, told with passion, drive and a sense of wisdom gained.
Johnson’s journey takes us from Winnipeg, where as a teen she became a devoted fan of Jon Stewart, to Toronto, pursuing a career in journalism, to New York City, where she has an encounter with Stewart (and later finds herself with a professional crush on Stephen Colbert), and later is accepted into writing classes with both Daily Show and Colbert Report writers.
Experiencing adulation, the fandom community, Stewart/Colbert slash – you’ll never look at those guys the same way again when you see Johnson’s show – the thrill of writing pieces in her heroes’ shows’ format and disappointment, Johnson takes us along on her emotional rollercoaster ride. And, upon getting off the ride, finds herself disillusioned, but not entirely done for. Wide-eyed excitement becomes eyes wide open wisdom – and it’s a pleasure to watch her share her story with us. And I learned that a Fringe play is not always what it seems before you land in the theatre.
This brave and personal multimedia theatrical presentation is well worth seeing. Fake News Fangirl has one final Fringe performance in the TPM Backspace tonight at 8:00 p.m. For details and reservations – this is another where you need to pre-book tix or arrive at the venue box office early – as well as info on Patrons’ Picks and The Best of Toronto Fringe, check out the Fringe website: http://fringetoronto.com