(repbublic) of rhetoric is a fiercely politcal play by point-blank at the Toronto Fringe Festival. It shows the connections between unrelated events in an increasingly dangerous and confusing world. The story is told through monologues, news clips (real and fake), dialogue and underscoring music.
Kate Maguire is the lead actor and I found her performance forceful and dynamic. She plays a half-dozen characters throughout and brought a different energy to each of them. I found her pacing and sense of humour gave several scenes the needed motion forward.
She had good emotional depth and variety throughout her characters and although the piece leads with a few more comedic scenes, she was equally skilled in serious, dramatic scenes. In fact, some of the highlights were the scenes where she was able to balance both in one character. Although there was only one non-monologue scene with Maguire I found her combination of charm and insincerity (in character of course) to be at first disarming then infuriating in the best way possible.
The script looked at the political climate past and present and I found it to be an incisive attack on many of the world’s ills. It gave me plenty to think on as I considered the points of views of the characters. It was especially good as Agniezska Mlynarz, the writer and director, didn’t sacrifice the emotional impact for the intellectual.
One my favourite aspects of the show was Dave Riedstra’s original score. The music settled carefully into the background for much of the play, but became a powerful and oppressive force at times. It is used carefully and only has one major moment where it takes over and it does so to great effect.
The sparse set was made up of a students desk and a chair that was brought on and struck if necessary. I wasn’t sure whether the use of a high school desk was intentional choice or simply what point-blank had access to but they were able to use it reasonable well throughout.
I found the pacing on this piece was excellent. Although the same length as almost all of the pieces I’ve seen at Fringe so far, it moved along at a great pace and kept the energy up to the point that when the lights came up in the theatre I caught myself thinking, “Already?”
The show is an excellent show for those interested in an angry, funny, bit of agitprop. I love any show that has me leaving the theatre asking big questions. This show was one.
- [republic] of rhetoric plays at Venue 11 –Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace 16 Ryerson Ave
- Showtimes are: July 07 08:30 PM, July 09 09:15 PM, July 10 5:00, July 12 2:45 PM, July 13 8:45 PM, July 14 6:45 PM
- Advance tickets ($11 including service charge) are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 , or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street.
- Value packs are available for anyone planning to see at least 5 shows.