TheaterTheater Review

Theater Review: ‘Cleft’ at the Public


Wrapping up this year’s “Fresh Ink” series is Ron Fromstein’s Cleft, a solo show about a 12-year-old girl facing the realities of life — particularly the trauma of her parents’ divorce.

Along with her beloved beagle, Bentley (“mostly brown with patches of white”), Eliza is determined to make the best of her new reality. Winner of the Ottawa Little Theatre’s Gladys Cameron Watt Award, Cleft is a refreshingly unsentimental look at a child navigating through some adult problems. She manages to maintain a bright outlook and accepts things as they come. The play has been hailed as “an acutely observed portrait of an acutely observant 12-year-old. Eliza is keenly aware of what is going on in her family, and in her own heart, and working hard to work it all out. Funny, charming, and ultimately hopeful..”

It’s always tricky when an adult plays a child. There’s always the danger of getting too cutesy, but Ashley Doyle handles the role of Eliza with aplomb. It’s also tough to hold the audience’s interest during a solo show, but she and her director Vincent Hardy succeed in doing so.

Cleft is streaming tonight at 7:30, tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and it’s highly recommended! Get your tickets here.

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