R&R: Cannonball

R&R: Cannonball

Shoot off to Cannonball before it’s too late! Last night is tonight.

Let’s get this straight right from the beginning. Emily Taylor has explosive talent. Cannonball has won numerous awards, and I’m not surprised. Taylor juggles more roles than I’ve ever seen in a solo show – and does so to great effect.

She is (deep breath) Hilda the German receptionist, her daughter Heidi, the sleazy CEO David with whom she is doing work experience, Miles the depressed window-cleaner he employs, David’s neurotic wife Cordelia, their daughter Lucy and Lucy’s Coraline-creepy doll Didi.

A total of seven roles (along with cameos by Libido, Neuroses and the Subconscious) is a lot to handle, but each is perfectly formed and deeply inhabited. Hilda’s German accent and Cordelia’s South African one are both entirely believable, as are their respective neurotic temperaments. Lucy is a stand out – the childlike idiom is exactly right, and she has this snuffly-nosed thing that reminds me of all the kids I know. Didi is quite possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen. This was compounded by the fact that my name (like Didi’s owner) is also Lucy, and I was sitting in the middle; she was addressing Lucy and staring right into my face. I was at crushing my friend’s hand level of scared.

I also want to make mention of Emily Taylor’s skill at inhabiting male characters. I’ve got some experience as a girl playing a guy and it is HARD. Audiences don’t respond to gal-as-dude humour as easily as they do to bro-as-lady humour. It’s sad, and it shouldn’t be that way, but it’s the case. Taylor’s rendition of her male characters really moved the audience. First to stitches of laughter, and then to the kind of skin-crawling discomfort that made me actually squirm in my seat. (That David dude is a piece of work.) It’s also great to see solo shows by women. Perhaps it’s just me, but there seem to be less of them around. And as Seth MacFarlane so thoroughly proved to us the other week at the Oscars, sexism in the performing arts is going strong.

Aside from all of that, Cannonball’s story is wonderfully twisted. Stalkers, sexual fetishes, underage sex, terrible parenting, suicide – it’s the underbelly of suburbia. Miles the depressed window cleaner actually seems the most normal of the lot. This show will have you re-examining yourself, holding your crazy up to theirs, hoping that you’re not quite that bad yet.

You’re probably fine. But if you don’t go to Cannonball then Emily Taylor should include you in the sequel.