By Megan Mooney
When I walked into the George Ignatieff Theatre to see Under the Mango Tree I felt enveloped in warmth. There was soothing but interesting music playing, warm lighting, and a stage with earthy rich colours and textures.
Once the show began, I started to lose some of that earthy feel. The spell was broken. Dubois plays several characters in the show, but unfortunately it seemed to me that she wasn’t at home in any of them.
It’s possible that this is really about opening night gitters and and the somewhat lack-luster energy of the audience. First shows at the Fringe are often a pretty tough thing since there just isn’t the critical mass in an audience. The energy of an audience not only feeds the performer, it also feeds the other audience members.
There were moments of sparks, of genuine feeling, but for the most part I felt like I was watching someone act a part. i find theatre is most powerful for me when I can get lost in a character and forget that they’re not someone out of someone’s imagination.
At it’s core this is a good story with lots of emotions to play off of. I feel like it’s a show that has fantastic potential, but could really do with some judicious cutting of the script, and perhaps a fresh set of eyes. When you’ve worked with a script for a long time, as the writer, the actor or the director, you start to have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. I think someone coming in and pointing out the forest to this company would help them realise their potential.
I am glad I got the chance to see this production at this stage, and would love to see it again after a bit more workshoping to see what it becomes. It was an enjoyable hour, it just has the potential to be much more dynamic.
When you check this one out, I suggest you bring some kleenex. I was doing a lot of non-too-elegant snuffling in a few parts.
Venue 7 George Ignatieff Theatre
Thu, July 1 8:15 PM – 705
Fri, July 2 3:00 PM – 708
Sun, July 4 10:00 PM – 725
Tue, July 6 10:30 PM – 737
Wed, July 7 Noon – 738
Thu, July 8 7:30 PM – 749
Sun, July 11 5:15 PM – 769
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, 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 are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows