By Amber Landgraff
Angelwalk Theatre’s presentation of [Title of Show], playing in the Studio Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, is a self-referential romp of a play. Having just spent two years completing my Masters degree I was sure that the words self-referential were words that I never wanted to hear again. Lucky for me, [Title of Show] proves just how fun being self-referential can be.
The plot of the show is simple. It follows friends, Jeff and Hunter, as they struggle to write an original musical in just three weeks. The musical that Jeff and Hunter decide to write follows friends trying to write an original musical in just three weeks. Is your head spinning yet?
I feel like writing a play about characters writing a play is a fairly well trodden plot device, but [Title of Show] manages to make it seem fresh again. The characters poke fun at elements such as theatre tropes, minimal set design, and how to successfully portray a time lapse on stage.
From the very beginning the play is set up as being very tongue in cheek. Everything is performed with a wink and a nod. The characters aren’t taking themselves very seriously, and they invite the audience to laugh along with them.
The musical numbers were hilarious, with songs like “Untitled Opening Number,” “An Original Musical,” “Monkeys and Playbills,” “Filling Out the Form,” and “Awkward Photo Shoot.”
The casting of the show was fantastic. It was really easy to believe that Mark Allen, Jayme Armstrong, Justin Bott, and Shelley Simester were just four friends trying to escape the drudgery of their everyday lives by following their dreams to write a Broadway bound original musical. My friend Sarah and I agreed that in an already standout cast Justin Bott and Shelley Simester were particularly believable in their roles.
There were a few moments in the show where I felt like it was trying too hard to insert an unnecessary seriousness. Sarah and I agreed that the song “A Way Back to Then” could have dragged the mood of the show down if it had been any longer. But all in all we felt like the show is tremendous fun to watch.
– Remaining show dates are Thursday-Sunday September 30-October 10 with matinee performances on both Saturday and Sunday
– Ticket prices range from $30 – $45
– Photo of Shelley Simester, Mark Allen, Justin Bott, and Jayme Armstrong courtesy of Angelwalk Theatre