Home / Entertainment / Jennifer Merchant’s solo Fringe festival show ‘A Whey You A Go? A Jamaican Sojourn’ is an epic story, intimately told

Jennifer Merchant’s solo Fringe festival show ‘A Whey You A Go? A Jamaican Sojourn’ is an epic story, intimately told

Jennifer Merchant, playwright and actor.
A Whey You A Go? A Jamaican Sojourn 

Written and performed by Jennifer Merchant. Directed by Anna Rolek. Until July 17 at Tarragon Theatre Solo Room, 30 Bridgman Ave. fringetoronto.com and 416-966-1062.

“A Whey You A Go? A Jamaican Sojourn” is one trip you do not want to miss.

Jennifer Merchant’s utterly captivating solo show — her first work for the stage — dives deeper and covers more ground in 60 minutes than productions twice its length.

It’s an epic story, intimately told by Merchant, who plays the main character Flo, Flo, a Jamaican immigrant to Canada. Alone onstage at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room, Flo, Flo weaves together Jamaican and Canadian culture with memories from her childhood: her admiration for nuns, love of astrology, her strained and somewhat distant relationship with her reserved mother.

In director Anna Rolek’s spare and fast-paced production, Merchant constantly code-switches between Jamaican and Canadian accents, playing both an omniscient narrator with a thick Jamaican accent, and Flo, Flo, who loses her Jamaican accent soon after arriving in Canada.

It’s less of an immigration story and more of a coming-of-age tale. Some details are particularly difficult to hear: Flo, Flo recalls the time she was sexually abused as a child; she details her quest to find her biological father, which like so many others, does not have a fairy tale ending.

While Merchant may not be the best actor — I sensed some hesitancy and a few missed lines at the performance I attended — she is refreshingly honest and frank, playing Flo, Flo with equal grace and gravitas. Though it’s unclear how much of this play is autobiographical, it’s clear many of the stories come from a place of truth.

To view the list of the Star’s top picks from the 2022 Toronto Fringe Festival, click here.

Joshua Chong is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Reach Joshua via email: jchong@torstar.ca

Credit belongs to : www.thestar.com

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