Tightrope – 2010 Fringe Review

By Mira Saraf

Tightrope is the traditional story of running away to the circus turned backwards – it is about a performer who’s trapped at the circus. She is the daughter of the Ring Mistress and the Lion Tamer and this is our glimpse into her world.

The metaphor of the tightrope is a little bit weak and contrived, and the truly emotional parts of the piece lack a little luster, but overall this is a solid performance. The plot is somewhat more complex than others I’ve seen at Fringe this year.

I arrive knowing only that this was a story about life at the circus – nothing more, nothing less. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and am pleasantly surprised when I see that the cast has six characters – and the potential for a somewhat complex story line in the 85 minute run time.

The set is simple comprised of a few wooden barrels and a makeshift table that move with each scene. The hired help, Mark and Dodo double as set changers in between scenes, which I thought was a neat additional use of their characters.

Don’t expect a sixth-sense type ending here. It is a fairly predictable plot. The actors engage the audience, particularly Dodo. Are the characters brilliantly complex? Probably not, but we do learn to feel some sort of sympathy for them.

In spite of all its weaknesses, the show is entertaining and light. There are definitely scenes and pieces that could have been cut or sharpened some, but it feels like the show does have potential.

The audience laughed and giggled as the circus folk did their thing and in spite of the grey weather outside were chirpy and more energetic than at other shows I’ve been at.

Details:

Tightrope plays at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace
– The only remaining show is Sunday July 11 at 8:30pm
– 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