If you’re looking for genuine fun at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year, you’ll find it in Toy Box Production’s How I Lost One Pound: The Musical. The Fringe is always a crap shoot when it comes to finding gems, so the best thing for any company is to drum up some good buzz to get the curiosity flowing and the audience filling. Only three days into the festival, and Lesley Carlsberg’s offering already had some great buzz zipping past my ears while I was waiting to walk into the AC’d Passe Muraille theatre.
A compilation of monologues and campy songs about body image, the stresses of modern womanhood, and being comfortable in one’s skin, How I Lost One Pound isn’t hard-hitting, mind-bending, thought-provoking theatre. But it is extremely relatable and told by voices that are both fresh and familiar.
The cast is an ensemble of variously sized lovely ladies, who really do give it their all. There’s a lot of support on stage between the actors which is always nice to see. Some of the cast are a little greener around the gills, but I think it adds to the earnestness of the show. It’s a sincere response to the times we continue to live in, where we still look at the skinny-mini super model as the ideal for beauty.
There are some wonderful moments throughout the show, and I found it hard not to wish they had a fuller house so that the women on stage could channel more energy from their audience. A few highlights for me included the first entrance of the cast, in their tutus, clutching scales that were leashed to their wrists (slaves to that little digital number). The choreography, while simple, was well thought-out and matched the vibe of the show.
Lauren Wolkowski, Rosaleen Kavanagh, and Kate Abrams were stand outs to me, each one bringing a little bit of crazy, a little bit of loopy and a little dry wit to the fold. Though really, all the actors brought their A-game. A big kudos to Barbara Weigelt, who throws down some rhymes mid-way through like nobody’s business.
How I Lost One Pound, in case you missed my first line, is way fun. It’s relatable, and they even include bits of audience participation and improvised dialogue that flows well and feels comfortable. I felt like a rock star walking out of the theatre and I figure, with all the laughing I did, I must’ve lost at least one pound.
- How I Lost One Pound: The Musical is playing at the Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue).
- Performances: July 08 12:00 PM, July 09 10:30 PM, July 10 06:15 PM, July 13 02:15 PM, July 14 10:30 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 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 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
Photo by Lesley Carlberg