Swelle | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

In a festival crowded with one-man shows, “Swelle” is destined to stand out because of a tour de force performance by Sarah English. The play is actually four pieces created by four different female writers. The first is told by a nerdy teenage girl as she broadcasts her video log—a conceit I found far more effective than the standard phone conversation one-man show. It’s cute and clever, although the quirky mannerisms and dorky snorts get annoying after a while. The second piece—a kind of confession by a stylish urban woman about her childhood sexual experiences-- was less successful. It seemed written to shock rather than enlighten and might be better staged on a psychiatrist’s couch. In the third piece, a driven young professional gets an accidental Brazilian while wheeling and dealing on her blackberry. It was mildly amusing, but again, seemed an unlikely set-up. In the final and most memorable piece, a young widow falls to pieces as she describes her attempts to go on living. It was a wonderful combination of poetic writing and heart-felt delivery that made me cry.

Show Times: Sunday Aug. 31 at 5:00, Monday Sept. 1 at 9:30, Friday Sept. 5 at 9:45 at Bus Stop Theatre. $6.

Kate Watson

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