Basking in the cool air of St. Vlad’s Theatre, I hadn’t any expectations for Theatre Bassaris’ Toronto Fringe entry entitled The Shape of Things. I was happy to be out of the heat and curious about the type of show director Alex Fields had in store for me. The synopsis was intriguing enough, but didn’t hint to much besides a general gist.
Let me jump right in by saying that the acting was positively stellar. There wasn’t one moment in the entire show that I didn’t believe in what the actors were saying, and boy, were they spewing some quick-fire lines at each other. Every single word resonated with something, at times funny, at times scathing, at times both those things and more. The familiarity with the script was obvious and appreciated and considering this was a first performance? Well, I think that says quite a lot on the caliber of show this is.
Jennifer Neales as Evelyn provided the balls, standing out as the idealist artist with something to prove (and massive problematic control issues). For me, she stole the first half of the show, though Christian Smith as Adam certainly held his ground as the self-conscious English student. Their relationship dynamic is great to watch and certainly feels real. There are some non-graphic steamy moments that come across as perfectly natural, something not entirely easy to pull off.
Adam’s friends, Phillip and Jenny (played by Brendan O’Reilly and Adrianna Prosser) take a bit of time to warm up, but they truly do shine in the second half of the show, when things start to get morally murky.
The Shape of Things is a tight-ship of a production, running really smoothly from start to finish, from Adam’s seamless appearance on stage before the lights dim, to the effortless (and lightning fast) scene changes in between.
The play also raises a lot of interesting questions, about Art, Truth, Control, Chaos and how far some people are willing to go to prove a point. What makes this particular production so enjoyable is that, even if you choose not to look to the deeper meaning of the text, the story will pull you in just as much. Why? Because the four actors and their director tell it so well.
- The Shape of Things is playing at the St. Vladimir’s Theatre (620 Spadina).
- Performances: July 07 12:30 PM, July 08 07:30 PM, July 10 06:45 PM, July 11 04:15 PM, July 13 06:15 PM, July 15 01:00 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