Words by Tom Haskell
Da Vinci or someone once said that “art is never finished, only abandoned”. After seeing Alice Fraser’s show, ETHOS, I can imagine that these aren’t so much words that she lives by as much as words that she finds solace in. I got this indication in the first 5 minutes, when Fraser had explained that this was a new show that she hadn’t yet finished and when she then proceeded to look down at her Kindle for cues, much like a High School debater checking out their cue cards. Playing a very intimate show in the Producers Bar’s Niche Room, Fraser presented a show that was more of a rough draft than unfinished, more mildly amusing than funny, but undeniably interesting.
The schtick of her show goes like this: Fraser has built a robot called ETHOS which is trying to learn lessons of what it means to be human through Fraser’s show, I think? It was kind of hard to tell given the loosely structured nature of the show. The clunky pacing and a myriad of jokes which she just needs to straight-up cut from her show got in the way of an otherwise thought-provoking show. When she wasn’t making hacky jokes about millennials and their selfies, Fraser was beautifully honest in her pursuit to uncover just what it means to be human, to love, and to be alive. It sounds corny for a comedy show, but it’s surprisingly authentic.
I can sympathise that this is a show-in-progress and it is not nearly refined enough for Fraser to sign her name to it, but unfortunately when you’re charging $30 a ticket for an unfinished show, it’s really hard to justify that without backing it up with consistency. Had the tickets been cheaper, I would say that it would be unfair to give this show a rating; however, given that people were paying a fair bit for this, I have to rate it accordingly.