The Duck Wife (Inertia) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Adam Collier

One of the dance offerings at the 22nd annual Fringe is The Duck Wife at the Bathurst Street Theatre. A company from Montreal called Inertia performs the work.

The Duck Wife is an assembly of choreographed physical movement, a four-piece band (guitar, bass, drums and vocalist) performing onstage, pre-recorded sound, shadow animation, and snippets of exposition as dialogue between a hunter, his mother and animals.

“I didn’t have any trouble following the story,” a fellow attendee told me after the show. “It was just I didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time.”

Another attendee mentioned (as she picked-up a photocopied copy of the original myth, available on a table in the hall outside the theatre) that she had trouble following the story. But, she added, there were moments in the show she liked.

Al three of us agreed that one sequence – call it the climax – was pretty cool. It occurs about three-quarters into the show. We see the hunter character attack the band, knocking each member to the floor in a wrath.

Taken for what it is – an expression of a relationship that has challenges and obstacles to its success – The Duck Wife has an emotional logic that needs no deeper consideration to make sense.

The energy onstage is astonishing (Inertia is fitting as the company name, because action really doesn’t slow down) and I had the songs in my head all day after (a YouTube clip can be found by clicking here). TInspired and experimental, if not always coherent, The Duck Wife is exactly why I love Fringe.


The Duck Wife is playing at the Bathurst Street Theatre (736 Bathurst Street; at the Randolph Centre for the Arts)

– The showtimes remaining are Sunday, July 4th at 8:45PM, Wednesday July 7th ag 5:45PM, Thursday July 8th at 3:30PM, Friday July 9th at 7:30PM, and Saturday July 10th at 12:30PM