The Waves… first tide (Harley Dog Productions)

By George Perry

The Waves prologueIf you’ve had a rough day at work, you’re tired and your stomach is a little upset. If you’ve also had enough of the recent weather, then I know the cure for what ails you. You need a prescription written by Viginia Woolf to see her play The Waves… first tide. Take the prescription to Factory Theatre Mainspace at Adelaide and Spadina. Have it filled by Harley Dog Productions.

You’ll need to arrive early for this play for two reasons. First, the play will sell out. You need to get your tickets early. Second, there is the McAuslan Beer Patio to be enjoyed. It’s a nice little garden and a great place to relax and forget about the 9-5 working world. 

The set is very simple but highly appropriate and effective. It is warm and evocative. It gives the actors room to blossom. As a result, both their talents and Woolf’s words shine. Both are nurtured, able to breathe and come to life. 

The characters rarely speak to each other, but there is certainly a lot of chemistry onstage. Their non-verbal communication is simply brilliant. 

Especially impressive were Aaron Stern-Louis, playing “Louis” in his first Fringe, and Andrew Bunker as “Bernard”. 

A very compelling scene is when the three females look into three looking glasses of various sizes. It’s a turning point in the play, and it is staged and acted perfectly.

This is a play about growing up, the aging process. Thankfully, it is not The Wonder Years. It is introspective, yet it leaves a very positive aftertaste in one’s mouth.

The play was so good that it seemed to finish a lot sooner than 55 minutes. Afterwards, the weather outside was very pleasant. Blue skies and a cool breeze greeted the smiles on our faces. 

I chatted with a man who sat in front of me. We agreed that all six actors did a great job bringing Woolf’s words to life. Accents were spot on, the range of emotion impressive and authenticity of all the characters was fantastic. 

I walked through graffiti alley afterward. Shuffle play served up a song from Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s project about growing up, alienation and the sea. Different eras, different media, but all are masters of similar subject matter. I thought of Townshend’s smashed guitar, empty cans of spray paint and a line from the play. “When you are silent, you are all beautiful again.”

Then I waited for the next wave and rode it home -The Queen streetcar.

It’s no wonder that The Waves is a Patron’s Pick at this year’s Fringe. It’s a magic prescription. It improved the weather and it improved my health in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

The Waves… first tide is playing at Factory Theatre Mainspace, 125 Bathurst Street

Wed, June 30 10:30 PM
Fri, July 2 5:15 PM
Sun, July 4 3:00 PM
Tue, July 6 8:45 PM
Thu, July 8 4:00 PM
Fri, July 9 7:30 PM
Sun, July 11 Noon

Sun, July 11 9:15pm (Patron’s Pick)

– 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