People tell Deb Filler she’s famous. She may disagree, but she definitely has her fans. This was the first adult audience I sat in where patrons were so incredibly comfortable and engaged that they were answering questions, making comments and singing aloud. Filler’s I Lost it in Kiev feels less like sitting in a theatre and more like sitting around a campfire. After sold out runs in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, it was time for Filler to bring this gem to her other home: Canada. Whip out the acoustic guitar and let the fun begin.
Filler is a New Zealand-born woman teeter-tottering between Canada and New Zealand in search of a place to call home. Though she travels to many countries and meets a slew of people, it’s not until she gets to Kiev, Ukraine, that she can really put things into perspective.
Filler is an international performer and this is an international piece. She takes us all around the world from school in Israel, to French restaurants to German bars and everything in between. Every story is so visceral and painted so intricately that you can hear the music, smell the sweat and taste the food, even though all we get in this performance is a chair, a guitar and Filler.
Filler is an ace impersonator. She recreates every character on her journey with such spunk that you cannot help but fall in love with the characters and with Filler herself. From voices, to movement to facial expressions, Filler builds her world down to every last detail and invites us to go on vacation with her for the entire 90 minutes. We picture these amazing snapshots of the world from Filler’s eyes.
Then there’s the projections. Filler has an array of photos she shows us throughout the story – some are mere jokes and some show us the actual locations that she has visited. This is a helpful addition, but when the remote doesn’t work and we are constantly looking at the wrong image, or Filler is flipping through the pictures with the remote and they are not changing on the screen, it is just as frustrating for us as it is for her. Spare us the technical difficulties. This equipment needs to work and needs to work fast.
All in all, I Lost it in Kiev is a ton of fun. Though the play was inspired by Filler’s less-than-comfortable experience in Kiev, this is a play about the world and a person’s place in the world. And that is a timeless struggle that anyone can identify with, no matter what country they’re from.
I Lost it in Kiev, presented by Smouldering Masterpiece Productions, is playing at Factory Studio Theatre until Nov. 30.