Factcheck (Aperian Stage Company) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Crystal Wood

Factcheck is an actor’s play, to be sure. Courtenay Stevens plays all of the 16 characters in this show about an overstressed magazine fact-checker. This gives him a chance to practice his voices, switch his focus, and carry a 60-minute show by himself.

He does it well. Stevens’ skill is impressive and there are many funny moments. I felt a little schizophrenic just trying to keep up with him. But unfortunately, Courtenay’s performance doesn’t make up for the fact that there’s an underlying discomfort throughout the play.

The various accents of the characters he portrays often fall victim to stereotyping. (Consider that there’s no actual dramatic reason for a bicycle inventor to be Japanese, other than it gives the actor a chance to practice saying things like “Herro, prease” for laughs.) There’s also something that feels very wrong about the story of a young white male being the only ‘normal’ one among the pool of crazy women and foreigners surrounding him.

The potential for the script is there. A busy magazine office is a perfectly interesting setting for a play, and the plot about Drew needing to find himself comes through clearly. I just wish it came through without Stevens having to do impressions of an irate Arabic professor or spinny Hindu yogi.

Details:

– Venue 8, St. Vladmir’s Theatre, 620 Spadina Avenue

– Showtimes:

Fri, July 9 11:30 PM – 859
Sat, July 10 Noon – 860
Sun, July 11 9:00 PM – 870

– 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