L8R MTL (Next Play Theatre Company)- 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

by Lucy Allen

Texting is the name of the game for this Toronto Fringe show.

Aaaaand they’re off! The 2010 Toronto Fringe kicked off last night. The Fringe tent was full of buzz, the Art Wank alley was full of talent, and I started things off with a late night show, called L8R MTL in the Tarragon Extra Space.

L8R MTL is about Melanie (Gabriela Hahn), a married woman living in Montreal who is having an affair with her sexy and charismatic co-worker Genevieve (Sarah Swift). Her husband, Pierre (Andrew Bigelow) is for the most part unaware of anything going on and often prefers to be stuck to his smart phone rather than have a well thought out conversation. When the couple make the announcement that they will be moving to Toronto, though, the delicate web of lies begins to unravel.

Sarah Swift as Genevieve was the highlight of the show, commanding attention even when walking on in a black-out. She brought some much needed comedic moments to the show and was nothing but fun to watch.

I wish I could say the same for the other performances, but unfortunately there seemed to be a severe lack of chemistry between the leads. There’s always a certain amount of leeway I give to opening night performances, especially when it comes to Fringe, but I just could not bring myself to care about the characters as much as the script seemed to want me to.

This is one of those shows that for me had an interesting concept. A lot of conversations with my friends lately has been about the increasing reliance on texts and twitter and the slack of real face to face interaction. Unfortunately, my expectations for the play were a bit thrown off as most of the play is face to face interaction and the use of cell phones throughout is rarely commented on.

Added to that was some odd pacing choices that made it hard to get invested in the story. For the most part the dialogue is fast paced and quirky, but it would have been nice to have the actors take some moments to let the emotion of the scene sink in a bit.

L8R MTL has some funny moments, but like the text messages it seeks to mock, there seems to be some emotional core missing from the show. With time and tweaking, though, it has a lot of potential and it would be interesting to see how it might develop.

Details:

L8R MTL plays at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space on 30 Bridgeman Ave.
– Playing Fri Jul 2 at 11pm, Sat Jul 3 at 1:45pm, Wed Jul 7 at 7:30pm, Thu Jul 8 at 10:30pm, Sat Jul 10 at 3:30pm and Sun Jul 11 at Noon
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://www.fringetoronto.com/index.htm, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes online are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows