Denmarked (Theatre Stoogette) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Carina Gaspar in Denmarked

There’s lots of clowning around with a skull at Denmarked at The Annex Theatre. Produced by Theatre Stoogette, it’s part of the Toronto Fringe Festival 2016.

It’s hard to say what Denmarked is about. Tweed (Carina Gaspar) and her sidekick skull Yorick (wonderfully played by Gaspar as well) seem to be on some kind of journey. The performance is purported to be related to Hamlet, King of Denmark, but apart from the play’s title, the setting at Castle Elsinore, a stabbing, and some Shakepearean lines, I personally didn’t see the connection. Despite having seen Hamlet less than a year ago, I couldn’t connect Denmarked with this familial tragedy, and neither could my companion.

For me, the strength of Denmarked lies not in the story, but in Tweed’s physical expression. With Yorick the skull, Tweed plays tag, performs CPR, dances and dines, demonstrating control and flexibility. Her intimacy with the skull is amusing to witness and gives much cause for laughter.

Her face, even though it’s partially hidden by a red nose, has a thousand different expressions that convey a wide range of emotions. Her voice and body are also well-used tools: there’s a scene in which Tweed’s arms are the turning hands of a clock, confirming Gaspar’s talent for moving her body in mysterious ways.

There is some audience participation during Denmarked. Tweed pokes fun at audience members and even has someone pull out a sword from Tweed’s body — this makes her even more loveable. Unfortunately, our group chanting didn’t work out as well as planned, probably because it was too hard to provide sound effects and listen to Tweed’s song at the same time.

All in all, while I thought that the play was a bit inaccessible and hard to follow, Gaspar is obviously at one with her red nose, and I hope to see more of her clowning around.

Details

  • Denmarked plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St)
  • Tickets are $10 at the door, $12 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: Audience Participation.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible provided you arrive early (at least ~20 minutes) and notify the House Manager you require an accessible route.

Performances

  • Saturday July 2nd, 11:00 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 08:00 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 09:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 12:00 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 01:45 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 04:00 pm

Photo of Carina Gaspar by Humberto da Rosa

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2 thoughts on “Denmarked (Theatre Stoogette) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Here are the comments from our contest winner:

    “Irony can bite. Five minutes into her performance Carina Gasper must have realized the “Warning: Audience Participation” note in the Fringe Program was directed at her. Her performance on Monday night was regularly interrupted by a deep voiced man in the front row blurting thoughts from his troubled psyche with no inhibitions. Undeterred by quiet admonition, he prompted worry within the crowd that he could be volatile.

    The young performer called on the skills of a mature professional in order to carry out her show. When the disturber left around the halfway point of the show, the audience’s collective emotion turned from apprehension to relief. Performer and audience acknowledged to each other it had been a stressful time.

    Ms. Gasper gave the audience lively physical comedy, energetic and uninhibited movement, creative props, and a Hamlet-derived script which might have included some free association humour as well. What a night!”

    – Paul Sayer

    1. Paul, thank you for your kind words– and for coming on, what turned out to be, a wild adventure! That performance will definitely be one for the history books. Glad you got to be a part of it.

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