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           Brilliant solo show moves along

           New incarnation a continuing adventure

           By Liz Nicholls, edmontonjournal.com February 10, 2012

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           Chris Craddock stars in Moving Along.
           EDMONTON - “No one appreciates damage at the time,” says the man in the custom-made electric chair at the start of
           Moving Along.

           He’ll reprise that thought, to bookend his show. And because the man has hurtled through his past, jumping off one fast
           train of thought and onto another, in flashes of light and sound he controls himself from the chair, you know what he means
           in a new way. Personal damages add up, in configurations you can’t possibly appreciate while they’re getting inflicted. They
           intertwine themselves with joy, and moments of startling beauty, and add up to ... you, in all your singular you-ness.

           I last saw Chris Craddock’s brilliantly funny/sad solo show three years ago, when it had already moved along radically four
           or five times from its birth. And it’s moved along again, and not just because the man is older and memory by very
           definition gets more crowded with moments, and refiled, and re-coloured, all the time. Moving Along feels, more than ever
           before, a full-bodied play. The characters, including him, seem more dimensional somehow.

           Craddock has always been up for a good rant; things really make him mad. And this is fun. When Craddock’s goat is got,
           and it often is, he unleashes a wicked edge and sense of humour. Liberal smugness or gender stereotypes, political crap and
           all the Canuck pieties, human absurdities and humiliations, especially his own — there is nothing more bracing than an
           application of Craddock rancour and irony. This time, though, the man in the chair, simultaneously Craddock himself and
           Craddock’s stand-in, is even gutsier about facing grief and loss, and assessing the shades of self-reproach and regret. He lets
           the dark moments unspool more before he changes tack.

           Moving Along is the pointillist approach to memory, memory as sharp, pointy fragments that stab you and make you flinch.
           And in this new production, directed by Bradley Moss, Craddock has the machine to match the way the mind works. He
                                                                                                                fl
           edits personal memory from the chair, not only the lights but the sound (designer: Dave Clarke), in ashes, fade-outs and
           abrupt darkness or silences. This has a strange and compelling theatricality, and it smudges the frontier between dreaming
           and doing, just the way life does.




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           As an actor confined to the sitting position, he’s limited in body language; his faux-confidential come-hither gesture is
           particularly amusing. Lit from every angle, his face is the stage for his memoir, and in this virtuoso performance, it’s a
           playground of gambits and reactions. “Let’s not mince words.... I was a child,” he announces portentously, introducing the
           nightmares of his younger self into the free-association whirlpool.

           What I’ve always liked about Moving Along is the way that somehow, from the high-speed synapses of the piece, its
           moments and tangents, a story emerges. And it’s moving and funny one. It’s the story of a misfit who, like all of us, finds a
           way, through the hits and misses of experience, to find a life for himself, with love. It’s a story about growing up in a harsh,
           ultrareligious fractured household, about rebelling, about sexual confusion, about the scramble to find a life in the theatre.

           Ah yes, the theatre. Craddock is both wry and self-deprecating on the subject of BASH’d, his (and Nathan Cuckow’s) “gay
           hip-hop opera” and its fortunes off-Broadway. It’s an inspired addition, prickly with insights about what it means to be a
           Canadian artist in a world validated by New York, and what your “success” means to your envious Canuck peers.

           Less inspired and more like a set-piece is a long volley of fragments chronicling his endless hazing initiation at the
           infamous Delta Cappa Epsilon fraternity. Torture requires duration, of course, but the infantilism of the frat view of
           manhood just seems a little obvious for a mind as subtle as Craddock’s.

           Anyhow, there is love to be had, a new kind of social awareness, and a different sense of what it means to have a family and
           create a new one, in this Moving Along. It’s a continuing adventure. I hope we keep getting invited along.

           lnicholls@edmontonjournal.com

           Check out Liz's blog Stagestruck at edmontonjournal.com/blogs

           -----

           THEATRE REVIEW

           Moving Along

           Theatre: Theatre Network at the Roxy, 10708 124 St.

           Directed by: Bradley Moss

           Written by and starring: Chris Craddock

           Running: through Feb. 26

           Tickets: 780-453-2440 or Tix on the Square

           © Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal




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