Killing Game (www.randolphacademy.com & www.redhanded.ca) 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By George Perry

Killing Time

Killing Game is currently playing at The Annex Theatre as part of Fringe Toronto. There’s a lot of things to like about this play. The cast includes more than 20 people, all of them very talented. Choreography is so good that it is hard to believe at times. Costumes and makeup are also sensational.

The set is used effectively as well. The audience is immediately engaged as actors enter and exit through at least six separate “doors”. The skill level of the cast and crew is amazing.

While Killing Game has a lot of great qualities, it is lacking in some areas. Namely, there is no plot. As good as the actors are, every scene is essentially the same. After a while it feels like listening to the same song 25 times in a row. The song I kept hearing was the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Love is All Around became Death is All Around.

What it lacks in plot though, it makes up for in audience. Sometimes the audience can be nearly as big a story as the production. Sex and The City is a recent example, as are Trekkies and Star Wars geeks. I suspect a Rocky Horror Picture Show type following will develop if Killing Game should see a long run.

I think one of the lessons to be taken away from the play is to be weary of fright mongering and groupthink. Try not to fall prey to things like SARS or H1N1 hysteria. However, large parts of the audience appear to be more choreographed than the mob of simple ghouls onstage. Being around these people made waiting in line really taxing.

The play was written by Eugene Ionesco, who was at the forefront of the Theatre of the Absurd movement. It is a depressing yet hilarious genre. I left feeling depressed that these very talented young people were so pessimistic about life. But then again, Bill Murray inspired a whole generation of young Canadians with his “It Just Doesn’t Matter” speech in Meatballs.

The Fringe program lists the Annex Theatre as being air conditioned. Don’t believe everything you read. It was a relief walking back onto baking Bathurst Street and a 40 degree humidex.

Killing Game is playing at The Annex Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street
90 min.
Wed, June 30 8:15 PM
Fri, July 2 3:00 PM
Mon, July 5 10:15 PM
Tue, July 6 6:30 PM
Wed, July 7 5:15 PM
Fri, July 9 Noon
Sun, July 11 7:00 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