No one could be more delighted to report that seeing Starry Notions tonight at Annex Theatre meant I finally found a Toronto Fringe show I want to rave about, to go on at length about, to answer strangers in lineups with when they ask the traditional Fringe smalltalk question: have you seen anything you’ve loved? Yes. I loved Starry Notions. Would you like to hear all about why? Excellent.
First, Ryan G. Hinds is such a generous and talented performer. It’s easy to think about cabaret as something that’s a couple of songs, a couple of rimshots, a smoldering ballad and off you go. Hinds — though he has all of those things and quite a few more at his disposal — has created a story with incredibly well chosen songs that showcase his emotional and vocal range. It’s piquant and surprising to the end, with excellent musicianship, in the rare tiny percentage of Fringe shows that feel fully cooked, completely rehearsed and ready for the next leap after Fringe. With a three-piece backing combo and glitter lips for the ages, Hinds is on point.
I also, perhaps perversely, enjoyed the obvious queerness of the show. So often, I have found cabaret performances a little too “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” for my entirely modern sensibility. Hinds, in a solidly and tenderly camp performance, made everything that has ever been fabulous about cabaret real and embodied. Though not a comic per se, Hinds has drag royalty timing and a sharp tongue to match (which makes it somehow nicer when he’s sweet).
I didn’t want it to be over — I could have listened for another hour happily — and now there’s nothing to do but wait for the next one. And, certainly, exhort you all to go, too, so I have other people with whom to discuss how entirely great and totally satisfying Starry Notions was in every way.
- Starry Notions is playing until July 11 at the Annex Theatre. (730 Bathurst Street.)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. 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 St. 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. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
- Warnings: Mature language
July 08 at 12:00 PM
July 09 at 07:30 PM
July 10 at 12:00 PM
July 11 at 05:45 PM
Photo of Ryan G Hinds by Greg Wong