Jan 23

‘Stranger to Hard Work’ is unstructured but brings the laughs

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Cathy Jones is a bit of a Canadian celebrity, starring in every television season of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Her one-woman show Stranger to Hard Work is part of the High Performance Rodeo and features Cathy in a variety of roles, including Enid, one of her famous TV characters. Jone’s show is a bit of an unstructured mess, with songs and jokes thrown in every which way, but it does have its funny moments.

Jones’ show opens to a doctor saying that she is supposed to be in bed resting. The caretaker fights for Jones to perform her show, working in the title, that she is a stranger to hard work. Jones manages to distinguish each character by moving her shirt aside to play the doctor. There is then a rock show, lots of smoke-machine theatrics, and Jones changing outfits. She tells jokes about turning 60, Facebook, dating, and Tinder. She moves through the audience for no reason and performs most of the show in tight black pleather leggings.

Jones is funny and there isn’t a doubt about that. She uses her talent to tell a variety of jokes from how she can feel members of the audience falling in love with her, to imitating ‘friends’ from Newfoundland. There are definitely some insightful comments on society and the people around us. Not us, though, because we’re a perfect audience, Jones says with a wink.

There are moments of comedy and noteworthy characters but it should be said that Jones didn’t seem to put a whole lot thought into the show. It feels more like she was told to create a one-woman show and she did. Some aspects of the show are there to waste time. Like when she goes through the second row, climbing over people, or how a joke gets old very quickly about her dating a 45 year old and she extends the joke by keeps increasing the age bracket of her potential beloved.

Stranger to Hard Work is more of an unstructured comedy act than a play. Lighting design adapted by Anton de Groot gives it a bit of a theatrical feel, but Jones doesn’t tie anything together and isn’t aiming to tell a bigger story. If you’re a fan, this performance will have you laughing for sure. But if you don’t follow Jones’ work, it feels like the production is thrown together and without being familiar with her, that fact seems less forgivable.

Alberta Theatre Projects and One Yellow Rabbit’s presentation of Stranger to Hard Work is part of the High Performance Rodeo and runs until January 29th. More information is available online.

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