There is a reason that Cory Thibert’s solo show garnered so much hype at the Vancouver Fringe Festival this year. Awkward Hug is an endearing, often hilarious, and tender show about growing up, moving on, and the systems in our world that fail to acknowledge differences.
Directed by Linnea Gwiazda, with dramaturgy by well-known fringe artist TJ Dawe, this show packs a lot into an hour. Cory takes on his 19 year old self and invites us to hear about the time he lost his virginity, his family’s big move out of their house, and his relationship with his parents.
At the core of the story is a poignant comment about the way that we are constantly failing to acknowledge those that are different. Whether that be in the disabilities of people like his parents who both live with cerebral palsy, or the shy teenager who wishes he didn’t hesitate and did things before he was told.
Awkward Hug appears to be a comedy, and Thibert keeps the laughs going throughout the show, but this one has a strong impact. As the solo performer, Thibert is physical and constantly engaging onstage. There is not a moment where you are not clinging onto his words and movements, waiting for what comes next.
While there are no more shows left at the Fringe, if you get a future chance you should clear your schedule and catch Awkward Hug. This story will remind you of the power of love.