Life in the Raw is perhaps the most ambitious play I’ve seen so far at the Fringe, incorporating music, historical detail and and family drama into one 60-minute show.
This production follows the story of a Montreal family living through the Great Depression. Three sisters (Kaitlin Lane, Brianne Tucker and Rielle Braid) have their own dreams of escaping their situation, which include living with their under-appreciated mother (Denise Norman) and philandering father (Rick Jones). But their dreams are interrupted when a family tragedy – no spoilers – turns their already bleak lives upside-down.
Each character stops the action at one point to sing their own back-story musical number, but that’s about the extent of the musical component in this show. I felt like the music could have been integrated into the story more, instead of pausing the action the way it did.
That said, the actors are all good singers and the numbers I did enjoy were Hope’s Hollywood song and Faith’s Salvation Army song (performed by Tucker and Braid, respectively.) I also liked some of the staging, including an intense fight scene, and the attention paid to the period detail of the sets.
Life in the Raw is a good family Fringe offering, as it has a Little House on the Prairie historical earnestness to it. I feel like it might be a good show to perform in schools to give kids insight into this period of time.
That said, I do think further development could be done. The groundwork is here for a good play, but the story could be expanded to go deeper with the characters and make the music more organic to the story.
- Life in the Raw is playing at Venue 6 – George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place
- Show times: July 09 04:15 PM, July 11 09:45 PM, July 12 02:15 PM, July 14 09:45 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) 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 of (L-R): Kaitlin Lane, Brianne Tucker and Rielle Braid. Photo by Dahila Katz.