Gemma Wilcox has been a Rogue Festival regular since 2009, when she first brought her one-woman show “The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over” to Fresno audiences. It sold-out shows that first year, and she’s been a hit at the Rogue with subsequent shows since then.
The praise is well-deserved.
I’ve somehow missed Wilcox’s shows in my past Rogue journeys, so I made it a point to see her first show Saturday night at Cal Arts-Severance, where the London performer staged the 10th anniversary run of her “Honeymoon” show. I’m so glad I did. This show exceeded all my expectations, and they were high after reading the reviews of her past shows.
“The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over” is a story about love. Through 20 characters — people, animals and objects — Wilcox portrays the many sides of love by capturing the exhilaration, frustration, satisfaction, endurance, and disappointment of the emotion. She is mesmerizing. She captivates an audience from the moment she steps on stage and starts unraveling the tale piece-by-piece, jumping in and out of each character without ever losing focus or the story’s flow. She draws laughs, but she also makes the audience pause to reflect on the meaning of happiness and our own expectations about love.
And, Wilcox showed great focus and humor in one unfortunate moment during Saturday night’s performance when someone’s cell phone started ringing. Without ever dropping character, Wilcox rotated her staunch posture, arms wide to each side to depict the feathers of a peacock, and stared down the audience member. Everyone roared. (This was actually the second time a cell phone range during the show; in the first instance a woman actually answered the phone and started talking, Bad form!)
I can’t say enough good things about this show, and of Wilcox as a performer. She masterfully weaves between each character and vividly brings the story to life. I did not want the 65-minute show to end.
Details: 4 p.m. March 2, 8:30 p.m. March 6, 7 p.m. March 7, 4 p.m. March 8. Cal Arts-Severance, 1401 N. Wishon Ave. $10.