The Traveling Saleman & His Magical Suitcase of Desires! by Zanni Arte Productions is a great show. One that works for both children and adults. I think that kids between the ages of 4 – 12 or so would be in their bliss during this piece filled with zany antics. But it’s also great for adults too. I’ve spoken to a number of adults who went and really enjoyed it, and I’ve recommended it to adults without children.
The description of the piece says that it’s told in the style of Commedia dell’arte, which personally, I think is kind of a shame. Not because I don’t like Commedia dell’arte, or think it’s inappropriate for children, but because I think that unless someone is really really really into theatre, they probably haven’t heard of it, and it sounds kind of fancy and intimidating. In truth it’s just kind of over-the-top comedy, kind of somewhere between farce and slapstick, that is just about perfect for a kids show.
And it was true to that over-the-top feel, in a way that just felt right.
Everyone did a great job on stage, but I was particularily in love with Tara Gerami in her roles as the Mayor and the Mayor’s daughter.
My one quibble? I’m pretty uncomfortable with the writer, Vincenzo Aliberti’s,
director (Teodoro Dragonieri) and Joanne D’angelo’s use of a stutter as the thing to indicate when her character someone is ‘stupid’ and the lack of it to indicate he has become ‘smart’. Maybe pointing this out is pedantic, but stutters are generally either a neurological disorder, or based in trauma. Seems pretty unfortunate to take a disability and relate it to stupidity. Especially in a kid’s show, because I can picture a kid with a stutter going to this and being embarrassed and heartbroken through the whole thing.
But, that aside, it really was a great piece of entertainment. I highly recommend checking it out.
The Traveling Saleman & His Magical Suitcase of Desires! playing at The Palmerston Library Theatre
$10 for grown-ups, $5 for kids. Each show runs 60 mins.
Thu. July 7, 4:00 PM
Fri. July 8, 6:15 PM
Sat. July 9, 11:00 AM
Sun. July 10, 2:15 PM
Tue. July 12, 11:00 AM
Wed. July 13, 4:30 PM
Fri. July 15, 11:15 AM
Sat. July 16, 7:30 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 Fringe Tent at 581 Bloor St. W. (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
Photo of the full cast by Alex Nursall