Excuse Me Would You Like To Buy A Bar? (Don’t Panic Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

I know everyone keeps talking about how amazing it is that a 20 year old wrote this play but that is because it really is impressive. Wesley J Colford has a writing style that is mature beyond his years and his script is supported by a very talented cast.The play focuses on a family who strives for perfection and a struggling artist trying to make sense of her place in the world. We go back and forth through different time periods with our two main characters and we start to piece together how their lives became what they are. There is a stranger who appears throughout the piece and I think his character is open to interpretation and suggesting what I thought would be to give too much away. It would als0 be wrong to pick any one actor out as I found them all to be Very Good, sorry make that Excellent!

The play is described as a dark chocolate comedy and it is an apt tagline. There are some wonderful moments of comedy and others of sadness and helplessness.

The staging is very slick and I found the piece to be full of surprises, it goes off in tangents I was not expecting and I loved the unpredictability of the piece. For me this was not a generic piece of theatre but I do wish I could have seen a little bit more of the resolution of Cathy’s character, especially with her relationship – but that’s just the romantic in me.

I loved the conversations about what art is and it’s importance and the bigger questions of how the future can be a scary place. It is all delivered in a stylistic way and that was refreshing for me and a special mention has to made for the direction and dramaturgy they have received throughout the process.

The only thing that I found slightly intrusive was the sound. I recognise it was to signify change but I thought it was enough with the lighting, sometimes I found the sound so loud I couldn’t hear the actors. Other than that I was thoroughly entertained for the hour , the show was sold out so book in advance. I hope this is not the last we have seen of this show.

Excuse Me, Would You Like to Buy a Bar?
by Wesley J. Colford
(search our title on Facebook)
presented by Don’t Panic Productions from Toronto, ON

*Winner of the Tarragon Theatre 2010 Under 20 Playwriting Competition.

*Presented in partnership with the Paprika Festival.

Director: Marc Richard
Genre: Comedy, Drama


60 min.
Wed, July 6 8:15 PM 502
Sat, July 9 8:30 PM 514
Mon, July 11 7:30 PM 522
Tue, July 12 6:45 PM 525
Thu, July 14 9:45 PM 535
Fri, July 15 5:15 PM 536
Sun, July 17 5:45 PM 547

– 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