Rachelle Elie | Sh!t I’m in Love With You Again REVIEWS
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Sh!t I’m in Love With You Again REVIEWS

Fringe Review: Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again
By Apartment613 on June 21, 2016 By Sandy Gibson
60 min | Comedy Musical | Mature
Fresh from the Montreal Fringe, Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again returns to the Ottawa Fringe festival with updated, eye-catching sets, some new numbers and as many laugh-inducing moments as can possibly be crammed into a musical comedy. Written and performed by Rachelle Elie with music and accompaniment provided by Luke Jackson, the show follows the development of Elie’s love life and parenting struggles from her early lessons on dating to her current situation. The humour is in-your-face, varied and definitely targeted at a mature audience; this is not a show for children…or deeply religious and easily offended Christians, either.

Elie belts out memorable original songs on topics ranging from spanking to sexual order of operations, while Jackson masterfully joins her on the guitar and sings along from time to time. Music is even incorporated into the spoken parts of the show, matching the tone set by Elie’s musings in a way that brings the show into the realm of the extraordinary. For some numbers, Elie and Jackson encourage the audience to join in thus involving them without actually bringing anyone onstage or singling them out.
Equally impressive is the script and the different forms of humour present in the show. Nothing is sacred to Elie, a trained actor and stand-up comic, who touches on everything from divorce to Jesus to blue balls. Her song lyrics are packed with great material, and she delivers her delightfully countless supply of jokes with the precision and timing of a Swiss watch. This is a remarkable feat given the numerous costumes changes Elie goes through behind a partial screen while maintaining eye contact with the audience. Her wardrobe contains more eclectic dresses, boas and other garments than the average Value Village. These are further augmented by her hilarious physicality and memorable impressions, especially that of her therapist and the various francophones in her life.

While mothers finding the humour in love and raising children isn’t exactly new, Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again brings this genre of comedy (or should I say “momedy”) to an incredible new level. There is such a smorgasbord of funny stuff in this updated show that you don’t want to end the festival thinking, “Sh!t, I missed that show again!”

The Ottawa Citizen
Patrick Langston Published on: June 20, 2015
Sh!t I’m in Love With You Again
Crowning Monkey, Toronto, Ottawa Fringe-The Courtroom

“To love and be loved is a privilege of the gods,” performer Rachelle Elie’s father used to tell her. Maybe that makes humans godlike since love is something we also enjoy. Just as importantly, as Elie’s funny, insightful and mostly autobiographical show reminds us, earning the privilege of love is anything but easy. Blending original music and tunes from the 1980s and accompanied by guitarist/fellow composer Luke Jackson, Elie traverses dating, sex, marriage and parenthood – in other words, the multiple manifestations of love – while searching for her own identity. Such topics are hardly original, but in Elie’s forthright hands, they are fresh and invigorating, giving us new perspectives – sometimes cynical, sometimes gentle, sometimes filled with rage and hurt – on common experiences. Elie is especially skilled at setting you up with a warm smile and an “awwww”-inducing story only to yank the carpet from under you. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much the story of love.

Apt 613 Fringe Review: Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again
By Kenneth Ingram on June 20, 2016
60 minutes | Comedy, Musical | Mature
Sh!t I’m in Love With You Again is a one-hour autobiographical musical comedy performed by Rachelle Elie, an award-winning veteran of Fringe who debuted at Ottawa’s 2001 festival.
New costumes and a revamped set design distinguish her show from last year, yet the adult theme remains unchanged as Elie demonstrates how personal relationships and sexual maturity don’t necessarily become less complicated with age.
Accompanied by Luke Jackson and his guitar, Elie reflects on specific moments of her childhood, adolescence and adulthood using a mix of original music, familiar tunes, and obscenity (in both official languages). More than a dozen wardrobe changes are quick, seamless, and laden with sequin.
With a plot that is easy to follow, the comedy offers candid monologues to address many of life’s challenges. The audience is encouraged to sing along from the comfort of their seats — and many did — as Elie shares her experiences with virginity, religion, sexual exploration, matrimony, childbirth, monogamy and marriage therapy — to name a few. Her vivid reenactment of pre-Internet adolescence (discovering VHS cassettes and staying up past midnight to watch Bleu Nuit on television) was the first of many scenes to garner warm laughter from viewers.
Elie shares her personal odyssey with the finesse of an Olympian, landing on both feet after a powerful, energetic, and vibrant performance. Ending with a glimmer of hope and reinforcing the message that “you are in charge of your own happiness,” she lavishly reveals that beyond the glam and glitter — love is a battlefield.

Apt 613 Distracting public servants since 2009.
Review by Travis Facette
in Ottawa written by Apartment613 on Monday June 15th, 2015
Autobiography comes with an implicit claim: “My life makes a good story.” Or maybe it’s “I can make my life into a good story.” Either way, that’s a pretty bold claim, and it’s hard to walk the line between being banal and being narcissistic. Rachelle Elie’s life, as told in Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again, is definitely an interesting one, but what makes the performance shine isn’t the content of her experiences so much as the energy and care with which she animates the people who inhabit that life, and the earnest, nuanced way she shares her experiences with us. Anyone can talk about their love life, but it takes a real storyteller to make us lean in and take interest.

This is an intimate performance,  as one might expect from a show about sex, love, marriage and family, and it suits the intimate venue. As Elie narrates the arc of her romantic life from youthful idealism to the challenges of marriage, she slips easily into gentle caricatures of the people in her life—her parents, her therapist, her lovers, various snotty children.  The story is punctuated by musical interludes, a mixture of original songs and snatches of pop music that never overstay their welcome, in which she’s accompanied by Luke Jackson’s acoustic guitar and backup vocals. What really establishes that intimacy, though, is the way she communicates her internal world as she navigates her early sexual experiences and her lasting relationships—earnestly, vividly, shamelessly. Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again is a funny show, but you’re not just laughing at a clever line in a musical number; you’re laughing because she’s gleefully articulating the kind of thoughts we’ve all had in our relationships, the kind of thoughts we’re usually reluctant to express.

It’s clear that Elie is a pro, as well. When she gets that rueful laughter or those sympathetic nods, she makes eye contact and responds organically. The performance, even on the first night, was smooth, confident and practiced. Elie is a Fringe veteran (and winner of the Ottawa Fringe Festival Outstanding Comedy Award for her previous show, JOE: The Perfect Man) and it shows. It’s a dynamic performance, moving easily between melancholy and exuberant, conspiratorial and defiant, precious and lewd, and it makes for a show that’s well worth seeing.

Capital Critics Circle
Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht Published on June 21,2015
Sh!t I`m in love with you again!
Rachelle Elie is the consummate performer. Her light hearted singing sparkles with dramatic energy. She puts her face, her body her hands and even her shiny blond hair to work as she peels off her outer costume to reveal a new costume for every change of scene and then moves on to the next challenge.

Accompanied on the guitar by Luke Jackson, Elie actually tells us her life story through musical theatre (and the lyrics are witty and captivating)  especially the evolution of her experiences with love and sex. Beginning as a wide eyed, innocent young girl kept in tow by a very strict catholic franco-haitian father she moves through all the nuances of her relationships with men. Even the most scrungy parts that evolve into the disillusion and bitterness of the later years, are all filtered through the lovely glow of Disney-like musical theatre for adults, full of fun and joyous, or not so joyous sex, and lyrics that always find the humour in the most despairing moments.

Elie is a very talented performer. She has a great gift for accents and a greater gift for bringing to life a story that is not always pleasant but that always finds gentle humour in human relations. The raunchy explicit becomes natural human behaviour the gives us a jolt. A darling of a show, a show that will make you giggle a lot and you will leave feeling good and loving the  performer.

On Stage: Ottawa’s Theatre Arts Magazine
June 19, 2015 by Robyn Lester
Sh!T I’m in Love With You Again is one woman’s tell-all about love, encompassing the wonderful, the horrible and everything in between. Rachelle Elie (accompanied by Luke Jackson on guitar) gives a charismatic performance as she shamelessly talks – and sings – us through what love can really look like. We see the electrifying beginning of her new romance, the disillusionment of parenthood, and the ultimate dissatisfaction and boredom with her husband. This play doesn’t shy away from telling it exactly like it is, nasty name calling and all.
But make no mistake: this play is neither depressing nor emotionally heavy. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. Elie’s tongue-in-cheek humour and energetic stage presence (coupled with the intimate venue space) make this a light and entertaining production despite its brutal honesty. All in all, it is an inspiring story that flaunts the relationship hiccups many of us try desperately to hide, reminding us that, even if your relationship goes to sh!t, there’s always a chance you can fall in love with each other all over again.

SH!T I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN DELIVERS RAUNCHY, COMPELLING PERFORMANCE
October 25, 2016
POST BODY~Adam Borohov Staff Writer
A raunchy yet delightful performance has awaited audiences at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times cabaret space this month, as Rachelle Elie confronted audiences with a traditional one-woman show dressed up as what one could only mistake for a comedic one-night stand.

Elie’s one-woman extravaganza, Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again dresses itself up as a night of stand-up comedy, and though this may not be far from the truth, the performance says otherwise.
Walking into Buddies’ crimson lit studio space, I immediately became absorbed by the hedonistic release that one would feel walking into a dimly lit comedy bar. The alcohol, laughter and pheromones crowded the bar in the back and made for a very comforting space to settle, as the crowd began to bubble. Once the audience was sufficiently lubricated by the socially stimulating environment around them, lights went out and the show began, as our main act walked down the steps and lit up the room.

In terms of the performance, it was arguably Rachelle Elie’s undeniable charm that made her story as compelling as it was, delighting the audience with what could only be seen as a celebration of self-deprecating perseverance in the most endearing way possible. The costume changes, combined with the lighting, painted an interesting picture of this not-so-traditional love story, accentuated by the guitarist stage right (Luke Jackson).

Jackson’s presence throughout the show, though subtle, made an incredibly endearing addition to Elie’s story chiming in and out throughout the performance. His purpose stretched beyond the bounds of simply scoring the show, to playing his own character of “The Man On Stage With The Guitar.”  The music itself served its purpose, echoing catchy songs from Elie’s past and remaining consistent with the overall pacing of the story it was telling.

All in all, I’d say Rachelle Elie provided audiences with a performance that although may have seemed stripped down at first, remained compelling throughout its entirety.
Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again played at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. For more information, visit http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/event/sht-im-in-love-with-you-again/.

Home of the New Ottawa Critics. Ottawa theatre reviews. No Holds Barred. — published June 25, 2015

Shit! I’m in Love with You Again is a Fun Ride. From the opening strums of the guitar to its closing notes, Shit! I’m in Love with You Again delivers a highly polished product that never drops in energy despite its conventional themes. With the help of guitarist Luke Jackson, Rachelle Elie tells the autobiographical story of her discovery of and relationships with the opposite sex, from the “first time” story to marriage, children, and the descent to the brink of divorce and back. Unlike The Cockwhisperer (playing at Arts Court Theatre), less emphasis is placed on the lack of real sex education (though Elie does mention that her knowledge of sex as a child and pre-teen was pretty much limited to “don’t get raped”), and more on the absurdity of human relationships – everything is ridiculed, from sexual desire to sexual repulsion to the excruciating (or so I understand, based on her very funny and graphic illustration of it) pain of childbirth.

Not all is absurd, because like any human relationship there’s the bad as well as the good, and the story becomes much more serious when Elie expresses just how easy it is for a married couple to grow apart after children. Though the title suggests a happy ending, the seeming impossibility of being able to overcome that obstacle looms large and strikes a fulfilling contrast to the lighter humour that dominates during the first half. Elie is a born performer who never seems to run out of energy – at one point she fell off the stool she was standing on, but recovered wonderfully in the moment. The endless layers of costumes she goes through are an extra touch that provides extra whimsy to a show that recognizes need for such an attitude even through the darker parts. Luke Jackson’s guitar accompaniment provides excellent mood music even if you haven’t seen Love Story or know anything about ‘80s power ballads. Shit! I’m in Love with You Again may not change your life, but it’s certainly a fun ride.

FRINGE FESTIVAL – PART 4 by John Sekerka
SH!T I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN – Rachelle Elie, Luke Jackson

The shout-along, fan favourite play of the fest, Sh!t is a boisterous bawdy romp of tricky costume changes and toe-tapping tunes. Rachelle Elie exudes charisma, and she showers the crowd with her unbridled enthusiasm. Coming of age love stories (many of them) never grow old when presented with wit, charm and plenty of sparkly pizzaz. Be prepared to howl.

Oct 28, 2016
Bernice Afriyie | Arts Editor
Featured image: Elie’s one-woman show pops the bubble of fairytale love stories with energetic and hilarious narratives. | Courtesy of Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again

Casually arranged seats, a lit stage and glittery garments magically transformed Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s cabaret space for Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again. The musical comedy, written by, directed by and starring Rachelle Elie, with musical accompaniment by Luke Jackson, teased and thrilled audiences from October 18 to 23.

The show started with Elie in a vibrant dress, descending a staircase as she took centre stage. Her gleeful and welcoming demeanor as she made her way through showgoers set the tone for the whole night. Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again was going to be fun, upbeat and relaxed.

No stranger to comedy, Elie filled the room with her sexual jigs and honest storytelling. As Elie glided across the stage and changed her costumes, she shared her love woes and awkward sexual encounters. Her stories of falling in love with a poet and then with her husband, aka “the voice,” resonated with the audience.
The lighting added an important formal element to the performance, following Elie’s every move, adding drama to her stories and illuminating key parts in the show. Even if Elie’s sharp humour and jokes did not connect with all present, the theatrics of the setup—costume, lighting, sound and staging—were aesthetically pleasing.

Elie shares everything in Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again, from her parents falling in and out of love, discovering her own sexuality in adolescence, to getting married, having kids and traveling. This vulnerability, along with guest interactions throughout the show, stressed the importance of love being rooted in communication. The casual and intimate setup could have backfired if audience members didn’t connect with the production, but Elie overcame this with her performance. She maintained eye contact with the audience throughout the night, creating a welcoming environment where people could feel comfortable to laugh, sing along or disagree.

Sh!t I’m in Love with You Again centers around Elie’s energetic performance, but what makes the show special is its message. The comedy show doesn’t shy from diverging from the fairytale story about a man and woman meeting and falling in love. Elie’s one-woman performance shows that, more than anything, love is not about getting your happily ever after.

Elie’s storytelling lets us know that it’s okay to hate your partner at times or to change your mind. It’s okay to leave a relationship that you’re not happy in, as is the case with her mother and father, or try to make things work with your partner as Elie does with her husband. Both are equally acceptable responses to falling out of love.

It’s easy to fall prey to notions of what a relationship, love or partner should look like. Remember that there is no ideal relationship to hold yours up to.
The only measure of your happiness or love is yourself.

On Stage: Ottawa’s Theatre Arts Magazine
REVIEW: Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again @ Ottawa Fringe 2015 (Allan’s Review)

Sh!t I’m in Love With You Again takes you through the ins and out of love, sex, and relationships. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs. From those first moments of love and its two hour massages, into pregnancy, and first born, and second born, and extended work trips into developing countries, and lack of communication, and not showing emotions, and wanting them dead….

Rachelle Elie will take you through it all, starting way back with her sexual awakening and parents who couldn’t be much different to each other. The story she tells is quite something. It’s well-rounded and complete and touching and funny and has a great character arc. Is it a true story? Is it fiction? I’m not sure, but that doesn’t matter. Because it feels real. Rachelle Elie has incredible energy and creates a very real feeling performance through which you’ll never feel she’s only playing a character.

Elie also has perhaps the most glamorous set at Ottawa Fringe and some of the best costumes, as evidenced in the photo. She’s joined on stage by long time collaborator and fellow co-creator, Luke Jackson. Jackson provides guitar accompaniment for the show’s musical scenes. Did I forget to mention that? Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again has some great original tunes to go along with the laughs and heart. Last weekend of Ottawa Fringe is upon us, Sh!t I’m In Love With You Again would be a good fit for your schedule.