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July 2009 | WINNIPEG FRINGE FESTIVAL


Carolin Vesely | WINNIPEG FREE PRESS | ★★★★★


Julia Mackey has been trying to get into the Winnipeg Fringe for three years, but we’re the ones who won the lottery here, folks.


When a bare-bones, solo show can have virtually every member of the (packed) audience — and the performer — in tears by the end, you know it’s a gem.


The Vancouver playwright/actor’s lovingly crafted, beautifully acted and indubitably important comedy-drama about the losses and gains of war should be required viewing in every Canadian classroom. 


Jake’s Gift tells the story of a Second World War veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. There, the crotchety octogenarian is befriended by Isabelle, a precocious 10-year-old from the local village who helps him face some long-ignored ghosts. Mackey’s ability to embody both characters, shifting seamlessly from arthritic codger to playful child in seconds, is nothing short of amazing.


"I never did nothin’ special," grunts Jake during an overdue visit to his brother’s grave. Mackey’s gift of remembrance is a powerful rebuttal. Don’t miss it.



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