Fringe review: The Charm Offensive (4 Stars)

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The Charm Offensive

• 4 stars out of 5

• Stage 12, Varscona Theatre

You can call it etiquette if you like, but Dinah Block prefers the term “ethical esthetics.”

A newly minted consultant in the field, Dinah (Morgan McClelland) accidentally interferes in a first date between Buzzy (Don MacCannell) and Renee (Marissa Tordoff), but comes away from the encounter with Buzzy as both her financial benefactor and assistant. Their mission? To help people out with the finer points of social niceties.

Stewart Lemoine’s latest Fringe effort is breezy, witty, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s put together by a team of lawyers moonlighting as amateur actors. Dinah’s list of potential clients grows quickly. There’s the sheepish thief (Sandro) attempting to fence stolen goods; frustrated writer Nelson Cable, who works at the back of her office; a woman who only likes to date married men; and even Renee, who has quite a high opinion of her own beauty.

They’re all quite terrific in these roles, taking to Lemoine’s distinctive dialogue as easily as his regular cast of Teatro La Quindicina collaborators.

Tom Murray

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