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San Francisco Fringe 2018

Sail On!

Harriet Patterson Productions

Genre: Solo Performance

Venue: Exit Theatre


Low Down

Dad loves road trips. But now there’s an ostrich in his Le Car. That’s not the only thing that didn’t go as planned. How do you recover when life takes an unexpected turn?


Harriet Patterson sings gently as she recounts a pivotal time in her life. She sees a loved one and notices things are changing. This is a memory play that takes Patterson back to her childhood. She has a happy family, and tells us all about it as she moves around the space with energy and clarity.

Patterson uses her physicality to show us different aspects of her story. She is very effective when using her strong voice or creating  gestures such as when she mimes driving a car by leaning back in her seat with her right arm on the wheel evoking a large car or truck. Her also characters have conversations back and forth and Patterson also narrates. There was typical childhood mischief, and ostriches! The family went on many travels together and Patterson includes phrases from a different region or era such as “catch my drift?”

In a conversation about food with several characters it’s always clear who is speaking and she changes course to speak as another seamlessly. Patterson has good timing and authentic reactions. Humor plays a part in this story and is deftly brought out by her smart phrases such as “Card catalogues (remember them?!)” She also tests childhood loyalty in and interesting scene.

Patterson is matter of fact when retelling what happened yet is also poignant and tender, at certain times. A section with dialogue about an embarrassing situation is very real. Patterson is sincere in her performance and draws the audience in.

There are several moments when Patterson portrays her mother, and these are extremely well acted. The mother is warm, calm and supportive and Patterson captures a multi dimensional person with tenderness and strength.

While narrating Patterson is energetic and specific in what she is saying directly to the audience. Two or three scenes with dialogue are played with Patterson ‘s eye contact looking to each side of the stage, for two characters speaking, which is a little distracting. She would connect with the audience in these moments if the eyes were angled towards the front more and would still convey a conversation of two people.

The theme of mental health is treated delicately, with integrity and empathy. Patterson changes pace and tone as she shares humorous anecdotes about her new roommates in college as well as raw emotion in other stories. Well written and performed.Recommended!