Company: getting there, Winnpeg, MB
Venue: 3 - The Playhouse Studio
Seeing Raising Roger is like dropping in on a stranger's family reunion. These people all have long, complicated histories with one another, and it takes time to figure out just how they fit together.
The world in which these characters exist is fully realized and lived-in – it’s just not that interesting.
A coming-of-age story told from the perspective of precocious nine-year-old Roger Welliver, the show takes place entirely in a family-owned bookstore. When Roger's mother chooses her career over her child, long-simmering tensions begin to infiltrate the family dynamic.
The world in which these characters exist is fully realized and lived-in - it's just not that interesting. The show springs to life when it allows itself to poke fun at its semi-privileged, WASPy milieu, but such moments are few and far between.
Although universally well-performed, the characters these actors have been handed are dangerously close to stereotypes. This means that when the plot picks up steam in the last half of the show, the characters and their nuances get lost in the shuffle. And while it offers a few fleeting flashes of insight, Raising Roger just isn't that relatable.
Incidentally the "F" word for this fringe show was "Fire Alarm". A false alarm caused a brief interruption in the show, but the cast and crew jumped right back in after a short break.