I saw The Road to Santiago by Rory Ledbetter tonight as the first show of my Toronto Fringe Festival 2016 experience! The Road to Santiago is based on the author’s true story of walking the popular Spanish hiking trail El Camino de Santiago with his then-fiancée Ashley.
You might say “No big deal. I’ve been hiking tons of times! I’m Canadian, after all!” But you may not have hiked an 800km trail across often-rough terrain which takes a full 37 days to complete.
We follow Rory (the title character) along the road, beginning in France and travelling along the mountains of northern Spain as he and his soon-to-be-wife navigate not only the road, but their connection to each other. Rory is unsure about getting married at all – will the trip end up strengthening their bond or lead him to discover that he’s not ready to tie the knot?
Plenty of humour is used in this tale of adventure. One night in particular, after a long and exhausting day, the couple is told that all the beds are full at their place of lodging. However, they can rent a private, spacious “bungalow” with two beds down by a nearby creek. Rory imagines a romantic night sitting on the private porch of a well-appointed cabin, sipping fine red Spanish wine. When the couple arrives, however, tired and sore from a long day’s walk, they discover that said bungalow is actually a white utility trailer with eight tiny beds in it (!) No wine, no porch, and…lots of roommates.
I got the impression that the majority of the audience had actually hiked El Camino de Santiago. They nodded and laughed knowingly when Rory divulged specific details, such as the Gore Tex boots that turn hikers’ feet into pillars of fire, and feeling like a “sloth on morphine” at about Day 23 of the hike. They chatted excitedly about the show afterwards, which is pretty high praise coming from fellow El Camino hikers. You don’t need to be a hiker to enjoy this adventurous theatrical tale. And who knows? Maybe I too will join that group of El Camino veterans someday!
- The Road to Santiago plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina 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.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
Wednesday June 29th, 07:00 pm
Saturday July 2nd, 12:00 pm
Tuesday July 5th, 04:30 pm
Wednesday July 6th, 11:30 pm
Thursday July 7th, 09:45 pm
Friday July 8th, 05:45 pm
Saturday July 9th, 01:45 pm
Photo provided by the company.