Tails From the City, on stage in Toronto, is “enjoyable for kids and parent alike”
Christmas in Toronto doesn’t always live up to the picturesque standards. We’re often left with grey slush instead of fluffy white snow, and the necessary parkas cover up cute Christmas attire. Tails from the City, presented by Common Boots Theatre at Evergreen Brick Works, takes the reality of Christmas in the city and spins it into a whimsical, charming tale of a young girl’s Christmas Eve adventure.
The first representation of Christmas in the city is through the space itself. Evergreen Brick Works offers the perfect balance of industrial brick buildings and untamed wildlife. Tails from the City takes advantage of this by setting scenes all around the venue, with the audience being led from place to place by a giant lit up acorn.
The singing of one of ten Toronto-based choirs, differing from night to night, fills these walking transitions. On the night I attended, the VOCA Chorus of Toronto was singing, with Glee-esque renditions of Christmas classics, including an all-animal-sounds rendition of Jingle Bells that’s sure to be stuck in your kids heads for weeks to come.
The story follows Billie, played by Eponine Lee, a spunky young girl who would rather be a racoon at her Christmas concert than a ballerina. She is instantly charming, and when she runs out of her house in search of wildlife, the magic of Tails from the City begins.
It truly is a Toronto Christmas story. Instead of reindeer, the show feature three mischievous racoons. They rummage through the audience’s bags, play hockey about as well as the Maple Leafs themselves, and even deliver presents. In place of the occasional elf, you may come across one lone fox during the walk as well.
Not to worry adults, Common Boots Theatre has not left you out. One of the show’s highlights was the hate-to-love-them millennial couple, played by Lucy Hill and Michael Rinaldi. Referring to one another exclusively, and frequently, as “Bae,” they acted as confused audience members and made a few cheeky jokes aimed directly at the older members of the crowd.
The final element of urban Christmas was a car salesman of a Santa Clause played by Courtenay Stevens. He and Lee had a particularly endearing scene where Lee poured shot after shot for the both of them (of milk, of course), while Stevens lamented his recent retirement from the gift giving business.
Overall, it struck me as an event that could easily become a family tradition. Enjoyable for kids and parent alike, and a welcome chance to be outside in the crisp winter weather, it was hilarious at times and heart warming at others. While Christmas in Toronto might not be what they write carols about, Tails from the City is an amazing chance to embrace it.
- Tails from the City plays at Evergreen Brick Works until December 30th.
- Shows begin at 7 30pm, with additional 4 30pm shows on the 19th, 21st and 23rd.
- Tickets are $12 for youth (25 and under), $22 for Arts Workers and Seniors and $30 for Adults, and can be purchased online.
- Information on how to get to Evergreen Brick Works, including information on a free shuttle bus, can be found here.
Photo featuring Eponine Lee and Courtenay Stevens by Neil Silcox.