Little One - Well Worth Seeing

Fringe Description: Intense · Intimate

Don’t be fooled by the cute title. Little One is anything but. As the audience enters the theatre a man sits with his back to us. Once every one is seated he turns around. It seems he has been waiting to tell his story and once he starts it all spills out. What follows is a harrowing tale. What is disturbing about it is the believability of it all.

Little One features Daniel Arnold and Marisa Smith as brother and sister Aaron and Claire. They tell of their childhood growing up in a respectable neighbourhood in Ottawa. But all is not right behind the middle class veneer of The Ave. The acting by both Arnold and Smith is superb. I had to double check to see who wrote the play so believable was Arnold that I thought it was his story. The playwright is the award-winning Canadian Hannah Moscovitch, who is able to capture the angst and frustration of a child forced to take a back seat to his sibling’s behavioural issues, feelings and concepts he himself can barely understand. Smith captures the logic and emotional inabilities of a mentally disturbed child flawlessly.

The staging of the play with Smith entering and exiting from different sides and Arnold never leaving centre stage adds a kinetic atmosphere that maintains an unbalanced edge to the play. Little One is not a happy story but it delivers such an impact that is well worth seeing.

By MJ Ankenman