I took my sisters to Strawberries in January (Stage 6) today. There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding this romantic comedy before the festival even began (directed by Mieko Ouchi, starring real-life couple Chris Bullough and Jana O’Connor), so I had high expectations going in. There was just something missing about the production, but what I can’t quite put my finger on. Bullough (as Francois) was solid, Patrick Howarth had his usual presence, and I really have no complaints about the female cast members, but besides a few tender moments (Bullough’s laundromat confession of loving Sophie’s flaws was touching), the script felt empty. Besides Francois’ pleas, I never really saw the evidence I needed to want to see him united with his beau, and because of that, the ending was abrupt and smelled more than a little of deux ex machina. Strawberries in January is far from being a bad play, but one I just can’t recommend.
With the return of the work week, I’ll be giving the Fringe a rest for a few days. But I’ll be back for a handful of plays before the close of the festival.