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Fringe Review: Spilling Family Secrets

By Jane Enkin, July 20, 2014

Spilling Family Secrets


Venue #7 -The Cinematheque 100 Arthur St. - (Artspace Building) Main Fl.

Mon July 21, 2:00 PM

Wed July 23, 7:00 PM

Fri July 25, 5:30 PM

Sat July 26, 10:15 PM

 See more at:


Throughout Susan Freedman's warm, charming show Spilling Family Secrets I wore a relaxed, happy grin. The play is dedicated to “Brownie and Sam... a good place to come from,” and their presence is nourishing for an audience as well. Brownie and Sam are Freedman's parents, presented to the audience through Freedman's memories, but most especially through their love letters. Freedman opens the play in the present tense, describing her first discovery of the letters when she was young and found them “hilarious... and embarrassing.” As an adult, she finds them inspiring, filled with insight, humour, romance, and a few family mysteries.


In well-polished, kitchen table stories, Freedman weaves together a taste of her own life story and her parents' – with the emphasis squarely on close personal relationships. (You may find yourself seated with family friends or relations – theirs is a Winnipeg story.) A slide show of family photos makes a lovely backdrop. There are some dark moments in the stories, transcended with courage. But this is primarily a sunlit account.


Freedman shines with mild self-deprecation and a deadpan delivery. She knows how to get a big laugh on lines like this one: “On their first date, Brownie ordered a banana split. Sam had a sardine sandwich.”


The photos and letters are allowed to be the stars of the show, with their silly jokes, totally mushy poetry, some teasing, steamy bits, and steadfast dedication. I think Brownie and Sam would appreciate one of my parents' favourite quotations, “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be...”


Jane Enkin Music and Story at

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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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