The Fainting Room

Becca Bernard, the creative force behind The Fainting Room, is infinitely likeable. There’s a sly innocence about her, which allows her to command a room full of people so nonchalantly while performing in a show about female anatomy.

click to enlarge 'The Fainting Room'
'The Fainting Room'

Becca Bernard, the creative force behind The Fainting Room, is infinitely likeable. There’s a sly innocence about her, which allows her to command a room full of people so nonchalantly while performing in a show about female anatomy. Trust me, you’ll never see balloon animals the same way again.However, no matter how much we were rooting for her, on opening night the show went careening off the rails. There was an issue with her cello being out of tune (yes, she plays cello and ukulele and does magic tricks!) that seemed to fluster her. Or maybe it was part of the show. She is a professional, after all, and this is an unusual production. It’s hard to tell where the character work ends.Bernard, who was part of the popular Dog Show at last year’s Fringe, morphs in and out of several characters, including a kindly old nurse, two chauvinistic but era-appropriate physicians and a neurotic bride. There are moments of brilliant comic timing. But there also moments of what felt like unpreparedness.The audience was rooting for her, though, and it’s easy to see why. The only production I have attended at this year’s festival to provide a press kit, this one-woman dynamo is ambitious, hard-working and professional. And I expect that, as she finds her footing, this show will delight audiences who are into this sort of thing.That would be the sort of thing where grapefruit representing genitalia is mutilated for laughs. It’s certainly not for everyone. But Bernard attempts to make the subject matter accessible for all. And she does have something to say. And, really, isn’t that what Fringe is for?