Review: The Tale of a Town (FIXT POINT)

I saw Fixt Point’s The Tale of a Town last year – and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very different from any other show I’d ever seen – organic, honest with a perfect blend of wistfulness and humour for times past.

When I heard the show was being re-mounted, I knew I had to see it again. As I looked around at the other audience members, I thought how many of them were unprepared for the experience that lay ahead of them – I already had a good idea of what was to come.

What I didn’t realize was that I too was unprepared for what came next. This wasn’t just a remount – the team at Fixtpoint basically blew up the show; teasing out the kinks from the first show and smoothing them over; and adding in other details here and there.

This is an incredibly active and interactive show. As the audience, you are a group of potential condo owners visiting the neighbourhood, and finding out all you need to know before purchasing one of several lofts in the Champagne Flaming Feather Eco Boho Legend Lofts.

You will take a tour of the neighbourhood (so wear layers, and bring an umbrella if necessary). You will also spend a large amount of time standing, and following the lead performer Lisa Marie DeLiberto around the performance space, so comfortable shoes are also important.

The presence of music is as thickly woven into this show as it has been into the fabric of Queen West history. Tributes to The Cameron House and local musicians make the show so much more personal.

My show partner had not seen the play before – and was therefore even more wowed than I was. “Well, you just never know what to expect,” he says, and admired how much the play changed and adapted to its setting, particularly during the walk along Queen Street.

The cast is high energy, and extremely talented. It is performed by Lisa Marie Diliberto, who blends in and out of several roles with relatively few costume changes. Treasa Levasseur and Adam Paolozza play cameo roles in addition to catchy musical numbers such as “The Spadina Bus.”

It lightly pokes fun at the arrival of big box stores and condos (Winners ironically opened the same day as the show), and laments the loss of Queen West’s artist population, but points out that every era must come to an end. One day maybe the condo-dwellers and mass retailers will move over for a new population.

For anyone that is an armchair Toronto history buff, or perhaps new to the city and unfamiliar with it’s heritage, The Tale of a Town  is a great walk down memory lane.

Although not completely family-friendly (though not overly offensive either), The Tale of A Town is a great way to spend a few hours experiencing some truly unique Toronto theatre.

The Tale of a Town starts at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue) ending not far from point of origin, until October 9, 2011

– Shows Tuesday to Sunday at 7:30pm

– Ticket prices range from $20 – $25

– Tickets are available online, or through the box office at 416-504-7529