Cut Up (Poison Cathedral) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Keagan Moore

When I emerged from the Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Ave) having just seen Cut Up by Poison Cathedral Productions at the Toronto Fringe Festival, the woman working the booth asked me what it was about. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure.

Cut Up is the work of two spoken word poets, Keagan Moore and James Kenny, fusing their craft with theatre in an attempt to make it more engaging. I found the show somewhat engaging in that I was never bored, but this is not what I would consider accessible theatre, nor was it particularly accessible spoken word.

What I got from Cut Up was an exploration of voice and sound. In the 50-minute run time, Moore and Kenny screamed, retched, stomped, and recited eloquent poetry. Sometimes all these things were happening at once and the effect was quite memorable.

I feel like this production is abstract enough that everyone will take away something a bit different from the experience. I particularly enjoyed Moore’s throat singing and whistling. The screaming got to be a bit much at times though. Both of Moore and Kenny have beautiful speaking voices and I wanted to hear more of that.

Despite the weirdness of the scenes unfolding before me, I was extremely impressed by the performers’ unwavering commitment to their craft. Moore would whisper the strangest words and phrases out into the audience and I’d find myself both bemused and entranced. Many times I was unsure of whether or not I was supposed to be laughing.

I can’t say that I particularly loved this show, to me it felt a bit obtuse at times. However, off the top of my head I can name about ten people who would adore it. If hearing “abstract fusion of spoken word and theatre” revs your engine, then I’d recommend seeing Cut Up.


  • Cut Up plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warning: Mature Language.
  • This venue is NOT wheelchair-accessible.


  • Wednesday June 29th, 06:30 pm
  • Friday July 1st, 03:00 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 09:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 01:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 04:30 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 07:00 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 12:30 pm

Production Photography by Poison Cathedral Productions