The paradox of the information age is that we have more and better technological means to connect to people instantly around the world yet we’re increasingly isolated and staring at screens. This concept is explored in I’m Right Here, a song cycle by composer Anthony Bastianon and lyricist Brett McCaig, playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
A song cycle is a series of stand-alone songs written around a central theme or topic; in this case that theme was social media, or rather the effect of social media and technology on our relationships.
Featuring four seasoned local musical theatre performers–Lana Carillo, Michael De Rose, Ryan Kelly, and Janna Pollen–I’m Right Here consists of a series of songs liberally sprinkled with references to Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, Plenty of Fish and OK-Cupid which highlight the modern frustrations of trying to make meaningful connections with people in an online world.
The show features simple yet effective musical staging by Director Steven Gallagher which accentuates the songs and keeps the audience engaged and interested without going overboard or feeling silly.
Highlights for me include “I Do,” a solo number by Michael De Rose in which he charts the entire arc of a failed relationship. It’s the most emotionally engaging number in the show. “Guess What” is a cute and funny ditty performed by a spunky Lana Carillo that rails about the effect technology has on kids (it makes them stupider).
The exploration of the subject isn’t particularly deep or earth shattering and the writers avoid making any sort of judgement call as to whether technology has a net positive or negative affect on relationships, but the material is cute, upbeat and often clever, the cast is uniformly strong and the show is a lot of fun.
- I’m Right Here is playing until July 12 at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman 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 peformance. 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 07:30 PM
- July 05 at 08:45 PM
- July 06 at 01:00 PM
- July 08 at 03:30 PM
- July 09 at 11:30 PM
- July 10 at 05:15 PM
- July 12 at 05:45 PM
Photo of Lana Carillo, Janna Polzin, Ryan Kelly, and Michael De Rose provided by the company.