Mood Swings (Unspoken Theatre Company) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Mood Swings performers Tom Beattie and Maggie Cheung

Mood Swings, performed by the Unspoken Theatre Company, a Shed Show currently playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, does a lot with very little.

Every woman I know has a public transit creeper story. Some of them want to talk about their experiences. Some of them don’t. Either way, it happens on a daily basis, which is maybe something that people don’t always remember.

Actor Tom Beattie plays several different men, all of whom have an encounter with Pandora (played by Maggie Cheung) at a streetcar stop. One of these guys is genuine. The rest of them inhabit varying degrees of unwanted attention. Pandora is just trying to figure out what she wants in her life.

The small technical elements of this piece are remarkable. A retro-looking record player, usually controlled by Beattie, provides music in the transitions while Beattie changes shirts from one man to another. He does this without any fuss, simply by facing away from the audience. The setting is also appropriate since it feels like we’re all quite literally stuck in a roadside streetcar shelter together.

Both Beattie and Cheung give grounded, honest performances, especially given that they perform only a few meters away from the audience. But Mood Swings veers from my personal taste in theatre when it comes to the script.

Mood Swings won the Pat the Dog contest in 2013 with its highly poetic, figurative and imagery-heavy script. Though in some cases this works – for large portions of the play the audience listens to the inner though processes of the characters – it can get a little heavy-handed.

This is not to say that the script is neither beautiful nor well-executed, because it absolutely is. But it does, at times, feel like a bit of a poetic overdose.


  • Mood Swings is a Shed Show and plays in the Fringe Club, located in Honest Ed’s parking lot (581 Bloor St. West)
  • All Shed Shows are Pay What You Can (PWYC)
  • Outdoor seating
  • Content Warnings: Mature language
  • The venue is listed as not wheelchair accessible


June 29th, 3.30-5.30 PM

June 30th, 6.30-8.30 PM

July 5th, 9.00-11.00 PM

July 7th, 4.30-6.30 PM

July 8th, 4.30-6.30 PM

July 9th, 6.30-8.30 PM

July 10th, 2.30-4.30 PM

Photo provided by Unspoken Theatre Company.