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MATTHEW’S REVIEW - The Vanity Project @ Ottawa Fringe 2013

The Vanity Project is an ambitious project. It’s a re-telling of the Greek classical tale of Narcissus who was so in love with his own reflection that Nemesis ultimately brings along his downfall. Tim Oberholzer is behind the writing, directing and even puts himself in one of the roles in this musical adaptation.

Should you see it?

TwoI was extremely intrigued by how this show would turn out; I love Greek literature and mythos. I also love musicals. Put the two together and how can you miss, right? Turns out, quite easily. The first rule of musicals is to make sure your talent can actually carry the tunes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no singer, I’m no Simon Cowell, but I do know what I like when it comes to music, and let’s just say that this music was not that.

Nicholas Amott is the main character, Narcissus, and while he has a decent mid-range he cannot hit a high note to save his life. His rhythm is also off quite often as he’ll start singing too early or too late to the recorded music, making the background music almost pointless as it ends up sounding like an un-organized canon. Amott is truly the only singer on the stage that was out of his depth, unfortunately for the show, he’s the main character so he’s singing 75% of the time.

There is one little brief bit of acting without singing between two songs that Amott is in and I really wish I had had the chance to see him do more acting as his demeanor and stage presence changed immediately once he switched from singing to speaking and I was immediately engaged and captivated by what he had to say and do, unfortunately he started singing again soon after.

Tim Oberholzer has an amazing voice, and I looked forward to his solos. You can really tell that he is an amazing and strong vocalist when he sings duets with others on the stage as he definitely is the one that carries the piece. Tess Mc Manus and Holly Griffith are also excellent and have great ranges. Rachel Eugster didn’t get much stage time or really a chance to demonstrate her vocals.

Vocal ranges aside there were some issues with remembering all of the lyrics between most of the cast at one point or another, and by the end of the show you will definitely want to scream the next time you hear “it’s a cautionary tale for an isolating age” – as this line is repeated it seems every 30 seconds throughout this entire show.

I felt like I was watching a rehearsal for what had the potential to be a great Fringe show, maybe with a little re-casting, tightening up some of the songs and adding a bit of acting between the songs this has potential to be a great show.

But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to know what you think? Tell me in the comments below.

for more information on The Vanity Project, check out our preview article.

About Matthew Champ

Matthew Champ is the lead movie reviewer for Production Ottawa's Should You See It team, making sure that you know whether or not these movies or plays are worth spending your time or money on. He is also on 101.9 Dawg FM every Friday morning at 7:10 AM chatting movies with Dylan Black. You can follow him on Twitter @matthewschamp.


  1. [...] other fuck-ups) (w/ video) — Josh’s Review (4) The Vanity Project (w/ video) — Matthew’s Review (2) :: Valerie’s Review (2) :: Allan’s Review (3) We Glow (w/ video) — [...]