by Lucy Allen
A simple heist turns into a tense and hilarious hostage situation in Toronto Fringe show
During the evening at the Fringe Club, you may notice a van suspiciously parked in the alleyway nearby, plastered with posters. You may also notice a clown exiting the vehicle and luring a small group of innocent bystanders into the van, only to have another clown rush up with a sack of money and drive away with the newfound hostages. There’s no need to worry. This is the set-up for the extremely entertaining The Getaway, one of the BYOV’s currently playing at the Toronto Fringe.
With a total of five hostages, or, ahem, audience members, lovers Jill (Denise Mader) and Dick (Bruce Hunter) attempt to make a frantic escape after a somewhat botched robbery of the Fringe Club money. Things of course are complicated by the fact that the increasingly unstable Jill decides that taking hostages is necessary to their plan. Hilarity and a very tense car ride ensue.
As you’ve gathered by now, The Getaway is performed in a van being driven frantically around the area. This in itself is worth the experience, especially the strange looks from passers-by watching a clown in a giant red wig yell and occasionally brandish a cheese knife in the passenger seat. The audience is entirely a part of the experience, sometimes observing the quickly disintegrating relationship of Jill and Dick and sometimes being directly addressed for opinions or to threaten.
For such a small and intimate performance space, the van was used very well and the action never got static. The actors would stop, sometimes exit the vehicle and sometimes even drag hostages with them leaving the rest with a different part of the show to experience. The hostages I was with last night were more than willing to play along, and it made for an even more immersive experience (despite our very loud laughing admist the tension).
The performers are just brilliant and hilarious. There’s no other way to describe it. Mader’s crazed Jill was balanced with McQueen’s much more grounded and stressed Dick. I was equally impressed (and relieved) at his ability to emotionally lose it at the wheel but still manage to drive safely.
I feel that describing any more of the story’s plot would spoil the experience. Not only that, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy lest I want to find myself killed in a field for spilling the beans. Needless to say, if you happen to get a chance, check out this show. As I said, there’s only five audience spots available (five is the maximum that can fit in a van after all) so booking in advance is probably your best bet. Also, something else to keep in mind is that if you’re easily prone to motion sickness, this is not the show for you. There’s definately more a few sharp turns that got even my heart racing. Totally worth it, though.
– The Getaway departs from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W)
– Performance times
Fri, July 2 9:00 PM
Fri, July 2 10:15 PM
Sat, July 3 9:00 PM
Sat, July 3 10:15 PM
Sun, July 4 9:00 PM
Sun, July 4 10:15 PM
Mon, July 5 9:00 PM
Mon, July 5 10:15 PM
Tue, July 6 9:00 PM
Wed, July 7 9:00 PM
Wed, July 7 10:15 PM
Thu, July 8 9:00 PM
Thu, July 8 10:15 PM
Fri, July 9 10:15 PM
Sat, July 10 9:00 PM
Sat, July 10 10:15 PM
Sun, July 11 9:00 PM
Sun, July 11 10:15 PM
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only), Online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person (June 30 – July 11 only) at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee), and $5 for FringeKids (no convenience fee for kids tickets).
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows