BWW Review: Say Oui to HOT DOGS AT THE EIFFEL TOWER at Hyde Park Theatre
There's a Hopi Indian proverb that goes: "Those who tell the stories will rule the world". If that's true, how is Maggie Gallant not queen of the universe by now? This masterful storyteller takes the Hyde Park Theatre by storm with HOT DOGS AT THE EIFFEL TOWER; written by Gallant and directed by Ken Webster.
In her one woman show, British-born Gallant yanks the audience back to her into childhood where the phrase "I love you" was as rare as a sunny day. One day, while receiving a haircut with a bowl on her head, the "curious child with an overactive imagination" asked her mother a question. Her mother's odd response furrowed Gallant's brow and whet her curious appetite. What begins as an innocuous question about herself galvanizes a life-long journey of questions, Queen, answers, and lies. Can one realization forever change the way you see yourself and your future? Can Freddie provide the soundtrack?
An actor brings an untouchable energy to a performance when they've lived the story they're telling. Gallant's magnetic performance radiates understanding and vulnerability without ever retreating into self-pity. And she's experienced hell, as described in the hilarious "swimming in a knitted, red wool swimsuit" anecdote. Gallant paces the show well, mixing in theatrical asides to the main story with a mischievous glint in her eye. Reflective moments also allow Gallant to captivate her audience gradually, until they find their hands clasping tighter at every new revelation. You're with her all the way to the end.
In the intimate space at the Hyde Park Theatre, Gallant keeps it simple. She brings her story to life with spritely physicality and limited props. Anything more than the single chair, briefcase, screen and red Parisian scarf would crowd the stage while diluting their importance.
HOT DOGS AT THE EIFFEL TOWER is a must-see. Gallant's utterly brilliant writing and performance feels like a privilege to experience. She effortlessly weaves together acceptance, family, belonging, identity, and how viewing your experiences through a humorous lens makes even the toughest situations a bit more bearable. You'll definitely laugh, you just might cry, and you'll never be so grateful for your run of the mill nylon swimsuit.
Photo Credit: Bonnie Berry
September 05 - October 05, 2019