Breadwinner (Megan Benjafield) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Crystal Wood

My favourite parts of Sex and the City were always when Carrie and friends went to brunch. There were no boys, inexplicably expensive shoes, or yet another gratuitous scene of Samantha having sex. Just four women talking about the things that women think about. Breadwinner is like that.

Plus it’s a musical!

The women in Breadwinner are Andy (Christine Aziz), Chris (Ashley Gibson), Pat (Mallary Davenport) and… Harold? (Amanda Dwyer) Harold’s name is really Gillian, but she has a male nickname to match her friends. Or is it because they all play the traditional male role in their households? You see, these women are the breadwinners in their family, when they’re not busy being the mothers and the housekeepers too. Exhausted by this lifestyle, they meet to drink sangria and discuss their lives. As the alcohol flows, so do the gossip and repressed feelings about the state of their relationships.

The show is animated and fun, and the songs (written by Megan Banjafield) were pretty fun too. Chris sings an amusing rant about how much she hates living in small-town Ontario, but Harold’s “how did I get here?” ballad was my favourite piece of the production.

Breadwinner doesn’t presume to answer any questions about the pressure for women to have it all, but it offers a comforting sense that we’re not alone. (Note: before I make this sound like an estrogen-fest, there is plenty of humour for both sexes. Everyone who participated in the standing ovation after the performance would seem to agree.)

Details:

– Venue 5, Annex Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street

– Showtimes:
Sun, July 4 7:00 PM
Tue, July 6 4:45 PM
Thu, July 8 5:45 PM
Fri, July 9 2:15 PM
Sat, July 10 9:45 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