My first Fringe show at the Factory Theatre this year was Edward Bond’s SAVED. The program indicates that three different theatre companies came together to make this happen: Bound to Create Theatre, Theatre Bassaris, and EOS Theatre. I am a fan of director Jack Grinhaus’s work and the work of Bound to Create. I wasn’t disappointed. This is not a happy show. But it is a fantastic one.
Originally written in 1965, SAVED is about the events leading up to an infanticide. This isn’t based on any one of the many horrific cases in public consciousness but rather set as a metaphorical tale about the violence and unrest for the British lower class at the time.
The play’s Fringe blurb mentions that this was the piece that abolished censorship in England. The unnecessary violence that leads to the infant’s death will never be, hopefully, easy to watch.
Grinhaus has kept the play in England (wise choice due to the British slang that permeates the piece) but has updated it to the late 1990s – a time when the world was on the cusp of the digital age. One of the fallouts of quick information is the quick and easy access to violent and graphic images.
Although not mentioned in the program, it is also a particularly chilling choice if one remembers the murder of toddler Jamie Bugler in 1993 – abducted and unspeakably tortured and murdered by two 10-year-old boys in Liverpool.
I would be remorseful if I didn’t mention how superb the performances were. A believable and consistent cockney accent saturates the piece. The 9 member cast creates the world of poor Brits in the 1990s with such believability that the play seems like the underbelly of a Guy Ritchie film – all the grit here is real. Tina Fance and Bryan Demore play the central roles with complete believability and I thought Jamie Maczko’s Fred was bar none – he will be an actor to watch.
This is a play about what it takes to desensitize a society. It’s not an easy story to watch – and maybe not even a play that I would choose to go to if I was having a bad week – but it is so skillfully done that it will likely be one of the better shows at the fringe this year. Truly creative choices in staging and set movement as well as choosing actors who aren’t afraid to be ugly are becoming Grinhaus’s trademarks. It is clear that this is a production that refuses to be taken lightly. There is no wasted moment on this stage.
Saved plays at the Factory Theatre‘s studio space, 125 Bathurst St.
Sun, July 10 1:45 PM
Mon, July 11 4:45 PM
Tue, July 12 8:30 PM
Thu, July 14 12:15 PM
Sat, July 16 10:30 PM
– 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