Fractals (Tales To Boot Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

clouds over a frozen landscapeI was intrigued by the philosophical undertones in the description of the Tales To Boot production of Fractals. My intrigue was met with a lively, and poetic revue by the versatile and talented Krista White. Fractals was a mix of stories, songs, laughter, and contemplation, and it was a great start to my second night at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival.

Krista starts the show with a song about dreams and freedom, which I felt set a great tone for the deeper questions that lay after this prelude.

We were then introduced to the two characters, both played by Krista, that would accompany us throughout the night.

First we meet Phyllis, a cab driver in Toronto. The matter-of-fact delivery of her dialogue is the perfect juxtaposition for the philosophical and existential questions she raised. Is life just a collections of moments? Is each person a portal to a new dimension? Is hope all we need to keep going when the odds are not in our favour?

I loved Phyllis’ delivery and say it was perfect juxtaposition, as I felt it allowed for a straight forward approach to what could otherwise have been heady material. Phyllis also presents us with several examples of people she knows who are following, or should follow, the dreams Krista sang about a the show opened. These quick peeks into the moments of people’s lives, sets us up for our other “guide” for the evening.

Next we are given Geraldine, a struggling writer in Toronto, originally from the east coast of Canada. Geraldine carries herself with a beautiful innocence shown in her wide smile and ever-present awed gaze, but she also battles the creative demons associated with the arts, namely doubt and second guessing one’s abilities.

I enjoyed how Krista as Geraldine used all of the stage when she was waxing on about the innate togetherness of nature, as it displayed her being together with all of the space around her. Another poignant point was her mention of how those who spend time alone, whether by choice or circumstance, are seen as “odd ones.”

This was highlighted by the quick transition from a lighthearted Geraldine, to one racked with self-doubt wondering who in the vast universe would want to read her stories. Stories she spends her time writing, alone.

Another allusion I enjoyed was Geraldine’s description of her home and how the power play of the moon and the sun keep our planet in check, and control some of the highest tides in the world. It was her specific words about the ebb and flow of the tides that I felt worked perfectly as a metaphor for the highs and lows of life, especially Geraldine’s.

This soliloquy also tied back into Phyllis’ words about life being a collection of moments , which I thought built a strong through-line for the performance as a whole.

Even with such deep material, I applaud Krista’s choice of characters and presentation. Krista as Geraldine was light and dream-driven, and Krista as Phyllis was a comedic philosopher in the same vein as Jon Stewart was a comedic political commentator. The message gets through, and we get to laugh while we are nodding along with the truths presented.

If the standing ovation and curtain call were any indication, Fractals looks to be a 2016 Fringe highlight, so get your tickets while they last.

Details

  • Fractals plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought 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. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • 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.

Performances

  • Thursday June 30th, 06:00 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 01:30 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 05:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 08:30 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 02:45 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 10:30 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 06:15 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 04:00 pm

Photo by Krista White.