Pike St.

The Reviews Hub / David Doyle

It’s unlikely that you’ll see a better performance at this year’s Fringe than that of Nilaja Sun in Pike St. at Summerhall. A hurricane is about to hit the Lower East Side and Sun weaves through the neighbourhood’s eclectic mix of characters as the gathering storms both literal and metaphorical close in.

At the heart of the story is Candi, a young girl who is now unable to speak having suffered a brain aneurysm prior to the events that unfold on stage. Surrounding her is the vibrant cohort of characters who make up the neighbourhood. Touching on race, faith, and American foreign policy, the show is an exciting exploration of modern America as told through the lives of a small group of people. The show’s ability to explore wider issues in a personal manner is demonstrative of the astute writing that runs throughout. Blending humour with really moving moments the piece manages to create something that is both entertaining and enlightening.

Sun’s ability to flick between characters with such aplomb is what sets the production apart. Playing an entire neighbourhood is no easy task and Sun manages to create a cast of characters with real depth. The nuanced and beautiful crafted characters offer an insight into the world far broader than the confines of their apartment block. With a seventy-five minute running time there’s more than enough time to delve deeply into their stories and as the final moments play out there’s a real sense of the importance of the piece.