Goodbye To All That (Mirabilis) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

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Right off the bat, Goodbye To All That (playing in the Passe Muraille Mainspace at the Toronto Fringe Festival) has a great name going for it. It also sports some great dialogue and fantastic acting.

The show tells the story of a wayward man who falls in with a ragtag group at the Cabaret Voltaire in the midst of WWI. Through them, he learns of Dadaism as a form of expression. The show’s timeline is non-linear, but the plot is still concise and easy to follow. This play is a perfect example of dramedy, with an even balance of both the comedic and dramatic in it.

This is also undoubtedly the best-acted show I’ve seen at the Fringe so far. Every one of the performers was on-point at all times. Some stood out from the rest, but all were working at a much higher level than I’ve come to expect from the festival. All the accents were flawless as well.

Of particular note were Simon Lee Phillips as Scott, and Taylor Sutherland as Hugo Ball. The former played a very dark and dramatic role (as well as another silent role as a masked man), while the latter gave some fantastic comedic relief.

The set was minimalist but did everything it needed to. The costumes were great and so was the blocking. I do have some substantial criticisms about the show’s content, though.

My biggest gripe is that I thought the “Cabaret Voltaire” part of the storyline was way too similar to the musical Cabaret. In many aspects, the show was clearly paying homage to its predecessor and acknowledged this. The title is not dissimilar to the title of the book that Cabaret is based on, Goodbye to Berlin. Truthfully, if I wanted to see Cabaret, I’d go see a production of Cabaret.

I also thought the show’s conclusion was rather unsatisfactory. I didn’t actually realize that it had ended until the actors came back onstage for their bows. I really wish this show had been 90 minutes instead of 60. Even one extra scene could have given it some much-needed resolution.

Goodbye To All That is a beautifully acted and well-directed show. However, the script left something to be desired with me. I’d recommend this show for the performances alone, and I really do think the source material has a lot of potential. Despite my own criticisms, I do recommend seeing this play. And if there’s ever a padded-out version of the script being mounted, you’ll find me in the audience.

Details

  • Goodbye to All That plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (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.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • Thursday June 30th, 10:00 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 02:15 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 07:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 01:00 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 11:30 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 07:30 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 12:00 pm

Production photography provided by Mirabilis Productions