Ambiguous (Afterglow) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Ambiguous is a play with quite an unusual story. As a writer sits to create the perfect character, there is an earwig that controls his mind, and forcefully collaborates with him. Then a couple of other intruders appear, Panic (initially introduced as loneliness wrapped in nostalgia) and Hysteria. As each of these four struggle to dominate the story in their favour, it is interesting to see how it all pans out when each get a bit of control.

It is quirky play to say the least, and although not my style, the quirkiness is very appropriate and serves it’s purpose.

The songs are beautiful, the two girls have powerful voices that command attention, and as they make puns and rhymes, they’re speaking of interesting human conditions.

The choreographed dancing is fitting to the quirkiness of the entire production but the venue is certainly too small to accommodate it. Quite unnecessary in my opinion as it takes away from the ability to focus on the lyrics in the song which is important as it gives the play much needed substance.

The extras like shadow puppets and projections are highly unnecessary. Firstly, projections need absolute darkness to be truly admired. Since the screen was right on the stage, there was constantly light shining directly on it. This makes the image unsaturated and loses its visual power.

Secondly, the shadow puppets were cute. And served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Their presence seemed incredibly forced just to provide something one wouldn’t see at an average play. This is pointless because the plot is so unusual to begin with.

Due to these technological additions there were many additions on stage that created clutter. Negative space is not a bad thing at all, especially when the given space is so small.

Even though the play is specifically about a young boy who doesn’t realize he’s gay and a writer who doesn’t want his perfect character to be gay, it speaks to a lot more than just gay issues. Instead, it identifies the unknown issues and reluctancies that any individual has within him or her self.

There is lots of laughter in the audience, which is a good sign of what people generally think, although it’s difficult to tell when it’s a close friend or relative who is undeniably biased. I didn’t necessarily laugh with the others, in fact I happened to laugh out loud a few times when every other person was silent!

Details:

Ambiguous is playing at Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)

Show times:
Wed, July 13 11:00 PM
Thu, July 14 9:15 PM
Sat, July 16 2:15 PM
Sun, July 17 1:45 PM

All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only).
Advance tickets are $11, available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street