EXIT (Compact Entertainment) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Gabriella Sundar Singh, Will MacKenzie, Nigel McInnis

The history of student productions making the leap from schools to Fringe stages is…checkered, let us say. EXIT, which is playing Tarragon Theatre Mainspace at the Toronto Fringe Festival 2016 is an example of one that should perhaps have stayed put. Though the concept is interesting, I did not find the show fully realized at this point in its development.

The premise is reasonably straightforward – this guy is addicted to the internet, his girlfriend and best friend are feeling neglected because he stays up all night playing internet video games and doesn’t engage with them. When they try to discuss this with him, he becomes agitated, blows them off, and picks fights.

The show is written by, directed by, and stars William Mackenzie, and I am not sure that was a good plan. Even the most seasoned theatremakers find it helpful to have someone else in the mix there, a checks-and-balances system if you will, just like writers have editors (hat tip to the Mooney editors, doing magnificent work). I found the pacing rather flat, and wished for a director who was not the writer to help the actors tighten parts of the show and let others have some room. As it was, I felt like I was being herded along without regard to whether the scenery was the Taj Mahal or the Port-A-Potty.

There are a few bright spots. Gabriella Sundar Singh does a good job with what she’s given as Angelica, who plays a version of a woman many of us know – one who stands by her under-employed and emotionally unavailable boyfriend for no discernible reason. And the combinations of projections and music were excellent – if William Mackenzie (who also designed those) starts having club nights I would totally go and bring my friends.

I regret that I cannot encourage you to do the same with this Fringe show. Though the concept is interesting, and relevant, the execution here simply did not seem to me to have gelled.

Details

  • EXIT plays at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. (30 Bridgman 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 wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • Thursday June 30th, 10:30 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 08:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 03:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 01:45 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 05:45 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 12:30 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 04:00 pm

photo of the company by Giuseppe Condello