The first two times that I attempted to go see Newfoundlander-turned-Torontonian Wanda Carroll's one-woman show "The Road Less Gravelled", it was sold out; the show played to a packed house again last night. And impish, hilarious, enthusiastic Carroll deserves all the attention she's been getting. In just over an hour, Carroll takes the audience on a journey through her bored childhood in tiny Conch, Newfoundland---from her first days as an alarmingly beautiful baby, to her ultimate departure from the province, to attend university at Dalhousie. A gifted, comfortable story-teller, Carroll delivers each tale with glee. And she's got a knack for choosing just the right words and facial expressions to perfectly convey the stories and feelings she's describing (even those outside our realm of personal experience). Carroll shares her first encounter with a "real" bathroom (for years, her family's home lacked plumbing, so they used a "poop pail"); "The bathroom was the most beautiful room I had ever seen," Carroll declares, enthusiastically. Contrasting the "real" bathroom with the "poop pail", she points out that in the real bathroom, you didn't have to "figure out which one was yours...You knew!" In just a few short sentences, Carroll perfectly conveys a child's wonder. We instantly understand how excited Carroll was about the bathroom, because we've been that excited, too. Carroll brings a similar wit and sensibility to stories about her first pineapple purchase ("My god, you guys---I'd never seen a real life pineapple before"), her discussions about apartheid with a seal-hunt shunning pen-pal from South Africa, her love of the Mary Tayler Moore show, and her first indignant encounter with nepotism. The show's great, and well worth the ticket-line duels you'll inevitably have to engage in to get in to see it.
Last show: Neptune Theatre Imperial Room, at 5:30pm; $10.