Charisma Furs (Katie Sly with Jonathan Seinen) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Promotional Photo for Charisma Furs

Charisma Furs , created by Katie Sly and Jonathan Seinen, is presented as part of the Live Art series in the SummerWorks Festival. The one-woman show is a quirky memoir; a non-linear coming of age story sketched out with vignettes from Sly’s life.

The performance takes place in the Factory Theatre rehearsal space; two rows of inward-facing chairs flank a centre aisle cutting diagonally across the hardwood floor. As I entered the space, Sly greets me and invites me to sit down on the floor with her so she can show me and another guest how to make an origami box (the box’s symbolism becomes clear later in the show).

With more than a hint of nostalgia, Sly recounts a collection of stories from her life, ranging from childhood soccer games to her first visit to a private sex club. Together, the episodes sketch out a portrait of the performer: these are the experiences that shaped her as a person, and Sly tells her stories with an openness and a candour that really invites the audience in.

Certain segments drew me in more than others and I suspect the degree to which you’ll be able to connect to the show is largely dependent on the how much you’re able to relate the performer’s experiences. Also, certain scenes, like when Sly confronts herself in the mirror, veer toward “arty” territory and read as a little inauthentic.

I will say that Sly is an incredibly giving performer, and the small space and intimate configuration allows her to make direct eye contact with various audience members throughout the performance. She really works to make a connection; at various times she held my gaze for several intense moments.

One warning about the space: while the air conditioner is turned on before the performance, it is shut off during the show so the room gets increasingly stuffy.


Charisma Furs plays at Factory Theatre Rehearsal Hall,
125 Bathurst Street

Show times:

  • Thursday August 6th 7:00 PM
  • Friday August 7th 10:00 PM
  • Saturday August 8th 3:00 PM
  • Saturday August 8th 7:45 PM
  • Sunday August 9th 3:30 PM
  • Sunday August 9th 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday August 12th 8:30 PM
  • Thursday August 13th 8:45 PM
  • Friday August 14th 10:30 PM
  • Saturday August 15th 3:30 PM
  • Saturday August 15th 8:30 PM
  • Sunday August 16th 3:15 PM
  • Sunday August 16th 8:00 PM

Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free – $20. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Photo provided by the company