To Distraction (Theatre Rattlebag) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Ryan Kerr

To Distraction was the most beautiful, thought-provoking play I’ve seen this year.  The premise was simple enough: 16 year-old Violet is having a birthday party and we witness her guests’ intimate car chats as they drive to Violet’s to celebrate.

What I realized from watching each carefully crafted vignette was how differently we express ourselves while in transit. Topics ranged from intense to light-hearted, with a few right turns and stoplights thrown in for good measure.  I was fascinated as much with the subject matter of each conversation as with the contrast between the seemingly directionless unfolding of thoughts and each car’s shared destination.

As it turns out, the cast compiled their own personal road stories to contribute to the play and this is evidenced in the cohesion of the ensemble’s performance.  I was blown away by the skill of the actors, as they made at times very difficult material flow effortlessly (and all while driving!).

Once the stories began to weave together, the brilliance of the writing and the skill of the ensemble cast made for moist eyes even in the funnier moments.

Highly recommended.

Bonus – air conditioned venue


To Distraction is playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace (Bathurst, at Adelaide) 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 Individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only),  Online at, 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

One thought on “To Distraction (Theatre Rattlebag) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. So glad to read this review. I saw the third performance of this show and was completely entranced by the cast and the writing. Michael Ripley (who IS this guy?) is someone we should all be looking out for. What a great ride.

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