In the Toronto Fringe
show Adventures of a Supervet Tech
, Sandra Lean-Leighton
shares tales from over two decades as a Veterinary Technician. This is a zany, energetic show that packs a few unexpectedly emotional punches. This marriage of Lean-Leighton’s rich background in theatre with the colourful experiences she’s had as a vet tech aims to shed some light on a valuable but underappreciated profession. As she puts it, she takes audiences ‘beyond the furry veil.’
Sandra Lean-Leighton spent the first two decades of her career in performance, finding opportunities in Canada and internationally, both behind-the-scenes and as an actor. She founded Lilliput Productions, a children’s theatre company for which she wrote, performed, and produced a number of successful shows.
Lean-Leighton really gives it her all in this multimedia show, and is unflappable onstage. She’s a confident and warm performer, and able to charm. These are skills she likely honed in children’s theatre, and they work just as well here.
Indeed, I could see this show playing well to a wide range of ages, so long as audience members are prepared for some gross-out humour and frank discussion of male reproductive equipment.
If you require your theatre to be Very Serious and Cerebral, this isn’t for you. Lean-Leighton wears a superhero costume for much of the show, and there are plenty of goofy moments. However, if you’re willing to go with the flow and have some fun, there are laughs to be had as well as things to learn!
There are also brow-raising tales, particularly when Lean-Leighton reveals a few of the stranger behaviours exhibited by the more eccentric pet owners she’s encountered. She’s never cruel, however. In fact, there are some poignant moments as she discusses death, dignity, compassion and pain in an understated way that is quietly moving.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, but Lean-Leighton won me over with her charisma and commitment. She’s not afraid of a little razzle-dazzle, and I couldn’t help but grin in response. It’s clear she loves what she does – the acting as well as her work with animals – and that adds something undeniable to this show.
- Adventures of a Supervet Tech is playing until July 12 at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Ave.)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 04 at 11:00 PM
July 05 at 05:15 PM
July 07 at 04:45 PM
July 10 at 07:30 PM
July 12 at 02:15 PM
Photo of Sandra Lean-Leighton by Lilliput Productions.