Carlyn Rhamey is a force of nature. Her facial expressions are anything but small, her voice is able to fill Studio 1201 with ease. Rhamey is a natural storyteller with an endearing, sometimes childlike spirit (in the best way!). Scaredy Cat is an autobiographical solo show- sometimes stand-up, sometimes reenactment, sometimes memoir- that follows a core thread of fear and its ramifications on the totality of our lives. Rhamey is a self-diagnosed scaredy cat, and indeed one that her audiences immediately empathize with as she takes us on a journey through her fear filled life.
For Rhamey, scary situations take many forms: haunted houses, clowns, sharks, creepy men, you name it. Rhamey has a charming, self-deprecating sense of humor that amusingly disarms the legitimacy of her fears; she laughs at herself as much as we laugh at her unfortunate stories. Scaredy Car’s pacing is very much one influenced by stand-up comedy, complete with water breaks; Rhamey is clearly comfortable talking to people and making them laugh. This is both a strength and weakness of Scaredy Cat as a Fringe show; Scaredy Cat falls into a tradition of solo shows with lighthearted facades and emotionally sharp inner cores. It takes longer than I’d have preferred for Scaredy Cat to find its footing in the more serious commentary; once Rhamey falls into the heavier stories, it is oh-so-powerful, but it feels almost as if Rhamey wants to stay in her comfort zone of boisterous, physical comedy, and is eager to get back to this place of lightheartedness. Carlyn Rhamey is a lovely actor with the capacity for sustained depth, and I an every-excited for her to explore this further in her future work.
Scaredy Cat is one of many wonderful solo shows helmed by women at this year’s Ottawa Fringe; Rhamey’s experiences are entertaining and brutally honest in a way that lures us in and keeps us wanting more. The lighting is also very effective; different emotional moments are effectively punctuated by changes in lighting, fleshing out an otherwise-simple, text-driven production.
Scaredy Cat falls on my list of must-sees at this year’s Ottawa Fringe; if you love to laugh, both at others and at yourself, see this show, and “suck it up, buttercup.”
Scaredy Cat runs through June 23rd. For full scheduling, visit www.ottawafringe.com/schedule. Scaredy Cat is in Venue 5- Studio 1201.
This article was reposted with permission and was originally published on June 21st, 2019.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.