Wild Rose - it doesn't stink

Wild Rose

Thank God. After a number of train wrecks I finally get to see a Fringe show that works. Wild Rose is the story of Tellula Rose, a delusional cosmetics sales clerk who is hoping to get discovered and find fame as a fashion model.

As played by Christina Sicoli, Tellula has the kind of looks and physique that carry just a whiff of runway potential — after too many vodkas, the wrong pair of contact lenses and the help of a fun house mirror that elongates, you might be able to picture her as a Karolina Kurkova in waiting. But even this faint reflection is quickly smashed to pieces by Sicoli’s unrelenting assault on her character’s self image. Tellula can do nothing right. She’s unaware, shallow, selfish, and she trips over herself a lot. In a critical situation she’s able to save her boss’s make-up bag but not her life. But Tellula is incredibly endearing. Somehow, within 10 minutes, Sicoli has me identifying with her, feeling the ridiculous, mostly self-inflicted pain, and hoping against all odds, even in the distorted fantasy world of this play, that Tellula will somehow succeed. Not that she deserves to.

Wild Rose works so well because Sicoli, like many great comics, makes herself the butt of the joke and isn’t afraid to look stupid or ugly. And even though this is a one-woman farce, Sicoli deftly modifies voice and body in order to inhabit Telulla’s equally shallow, vain, and mean co-workers, who are the supporting cast in this mad-house department store.

My main quibble with the show is the ending. (Stop reading here if you haven’t seen it yet). In keeping with the fantasy elements that are present throughout, I think Telulla’s dream should have come true. Her only virtue is persistence. It’s a fault that gets her into all kinds of trouble. It should also have been the quality that helped her rise above.

For more information and to submit your own review ramble here.

By Alex Lazaridis Ferguson