The Untitled Sam Mullins Project, which plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a poignant and very funny piece of storytelling from charming Fringe virtuoso Sam Mullins.
The show begins with four truths that Mullins wrote down on a piece of paper during a comedy workshop in Vancouver, four truths that did not prove immediately relevant to his comedy exercise, but that have spawned a really beautiful piece about confronting one’s fears, guilt, and heartache, and emerging stronger through the art of self exploration and connecting with an audience of strangers.
These four truths become four stories, one about an almost unbelievable humiliation that he suffered while at University, one about the grandest of gestures in matters of the heart blowing into the grandest of disasters, one, once again, almost unbelievable, story about baseball that could be made into a John Irving novel, and one, inspiring tale about how Mullins finally conquered a panic disorder that used to see him faint often and with little warning.
Mullins says at the beginning of the piece that one of the aspects of his love life that dooms him to feel like he will never be able to find or keep love, is that he struggles with being vulnerable and intimate with his partner. Although, I feel like Mullins’ situation is in no way uncommon among performers, this seems difficult to believe, because he appears so comfortable being vulnerable, and charmingly and self deprecatingly so, while he is onstage. In fact, he is so comfortable telling stories in front of an audience, that he won’t even be thrown off by a stranger getting up and randomly offering him a fist-bump and a Kit Kat bar in the middle of his show, as happened during the performance last evening. He has the ability to make you feel like it’s just the two of you in the room, that the construction of stage and theatre and audience has disappeared, which, perhaps, was why this gentleman felt he needed to further connect with Mullins and to thank him.
The Untitled Sam Mullins Project is entirely engaging and entertaining, but the last story also offers a creative suggestion for an exercise that may help combat Anxiety, Depression and/or Panic, and for that story alone, I think that he is sending many people back out of the theatre and into the world inspired and invigorated about their own creative potential, perhaps untapped, and for that Mullins deserves gratitude even exceeding that of a Kit Kat bar.
TWISI FRINGE RATING:
The Untitled Sam Mullins Project plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst Street) at the following times:
July 09 at 12:00 PM buy tickets
July 10 at 04:00 PM buy tickets
July 11 at 11:30 PM buy tickets