Review: Imprints (Theatre Gargantua)

tells the tale of Lily (played by Stephanie Belding), while undergoing a sort-of induced coma to treat an incurable disease, Lily accidentally remains in a dream-like state, having been told she would be totally unaware of the passage of time. While in this state, she is haunted by the ghosts of her ancestors – who exist in her genes – and discovers an alarming key to her present situation. Imprints is playing at the Factory Studio Theatre until November 26.

The absolute best parts of the show are the effects. There are a variety of elements used, from fabric to video projections to smoke to sand, and all of it looks amazing. The show immediately starts off with a bang, and each effect just gets cooler from there. It was incredibly impressive. In addition, all of these elements don’t feel forced into the story – they are used effectively to add to it, rather than thrown in simply for show.

Imprints is also an incredibly physical production, featuring an acting ensemble of Stephanie Belding, Cosette Derome, Conor Green, Ron Kennell, Kat Sandler, and the playwright, Michael Spence. All of these performers crawl, jump and run across the stage for a significant part of the show.  It is just as impressive as the special effects.

Imprints is an Alice in Wonderland-esque story, and gets a bit surreal and unusual. However, the dance-inspired moments and special effects never get to a point where they feel too ‘out there’. They do venture into experimental-land, but the dream-like setting makes this all seem entirely appropriate. The elements that could be considered artifice don’t serve to hide a lackluster script – the story on its own is fantastic. Lily’s confused and frank ‘everyday’ reaction to these strange happenings serves to anchor the story nicely.

Between the effects, the acting, the storytelling and the overall atmosphere, Imprints is a fantastic show that I would highly recommend seeing.

Imprints is playing at the Factory Studio Theatre (125 Bathurst Street) until November 26.
– Shows run Thurs –to Sat at 8pm; with additional shows on Sun Nov. 13 at 2:30pm & Tues Nov. 15 at 8pm
– Tues & Thurs $20; Fri & Sat $25 (Discounts available for students, seniors, groups, and equity)
– Tickets are available online or through the Factory Theatre box office at 416-504-9971

Photo of Stephanie Belding by Michael Cooper