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REVIEW: Valentine (Grr Nights) @ Fringe

Words by: Mandy Moe Pwint Tu

After my Sad Girls Club debacle the week before, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to another trip into the yurt. I was also rethinking my decision to see a show about a clown, given their apparent fear-inspiring nature. I took comfort in that the show was only 20 minutes; I knew I could hold my nerve for that long at least.

On the way to the Blue Room Theatre, I ran into Scott McArdle who had just seen the final rehearsal of Valentine and assured me that it was “cute and funny”. This gave me hope, so I walked in and waited with a group of people who were very clearly friends. Feeling a tad out of place, I waited, first in line, more looking forward to the end of the show than the show itself.

Everything changed when I stepped into the yurt.

For one thing, it was smaller than I remembered. Pillows littered half the space; a girl with a laptop set the scene with what I assumed was xylophone music. We took our seats, unsure of what to expect.

The lights dimmed, and the show began. It was like nothing I had ever seen before; it was honest, intimate, and every bit heartwarming. Valentine herself was not the gaudy, extravagant clown I was expecting; she was bright and charming and cheerful, and in spite of her journey in search of a heart, her performance had a whole lot of heart in it.

Valentine made use of shadows and light to amazing effect: from rain to stars to sunshine to mountains and oceans, it was art and poetry and music, all at once. Towards the end she called upon three audience members in turn to explore the consequences of love. And then, to the rhythm of the heartbeats of everyone gathered, Valentine concluded, with a beautifully profound message to remember, to feel, and to follow your heart.