If you saw Shadows in Bloom last year at the Calgary Fringe Festival, this is the third in the series by Gemma Wilcox about a somewhat lonely woman named Sandra and her tale of life and love. Magical Mystery Detour is performed with the same quirky flair as Wilcox’s other productions, where she plays all the characters, from mosquitoes, to the car, to even the Neti pot. Wilcox is a blur as a performer, moving slickly from character to character, giving each one their unique accent or physical trait.
The play tells of Sandra, who recently was dumped by her boyfriend Charlie and her mom died. We see Sandra, months later, grieving deeply the loss of her mom and her relationship. But since Sandra lives alone this is all illustrated by the mail accumulating in her mailbox, and her unanswered messages on her voicemail. Then she finds out that her mom as her last wish wanted her to go see the transit of Venus, and she had already booked the Bed and Breakfast for Sandra and Charlie. Not wanting to disappoint the deceased, Sandra sets out on a road trip she doesn’t really want to take.
Magical Mystery Detour is an honest look at a woman trying to live her life and the struggles that she faces along the way. It’s refreshing that the play is told entirely from her point of view, with the dog and the car’s point of view thrown in as well. Wilcox doesn’t shy away from scenes that are sexual in nature, or from portraying the overly sexual tree as comic relief. She is quite talented at created distinct characters with personalities, even if they just appear on stage for a few seconds.
The play is heartwarming and is a subtle look at grief and we get to watch Sandra as she tries to deal with the blows that life deals her.
Magical Mystery Detour is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. It plays two more times at Lunchbox Theatre during the festival. More information can be found online.
Gemma Wilcox is also touring to the Edmonton Fringe Festival, so you can catch this play at that festival as well.