In the back corner of the Fringe Club lies an enchanted crackhouse. Hand the creative reins of Fred Penner’s Place over to Seth Macfarlane, and you’ll get a rough approximation of the Enchanted Collective’s inventive, sometimes cringe-worthy work of genius.
The play stars Virginia (Kristin Mueller-Heaslip), a virtuous young woman with the innocence and vocal chords of a seasoned soprano, on a quest to rescue her sister – “Well, she’s my twin sister, only she’s a prostitute addicted to crack” – from the clutches of the Kralk (Daniel Krolik), a greaseball human-rodent hybrid.
Even more enchanting than the crack house itself are the oddball rogues and rodents within it. The play is overrun by a crew of lecherous puppets. Mueller-Keaslip is adorable, and watching her descend into the house’s gritty depths is a lesson in organic character development.
Dialogue – whether spoken or sung – is consistently spot-on. Watch for a bevy of foolproof one-liners – “judge me on the content of my character, not on the diseases I may carry.” Cheer on Mueller-Keaslip as she tries to “Ford the Fjord,” one of many hilarious musical numbers led by the Crackhouse Band (Production Manager Sky Shaver and Co-Creator Hillary Thomson).
Speaking of co-creators: half the performers are credited as co-creators, and there’s a shared feeling of fun among Crackhouse cast and crew that’s, well, addictive. Alex, a coffee can-wielding donation collector, assails would-be audience members:
“Have you heard the good word of the Enchanted Crackhouse? It’s right behind you.”
“Ah! Well. I’m inviting you – to the Enchanted Crackhouse!”
“Yes – yes – hookers are complimentary. Bring beer – it makes it much more fun.”
An expert cast of performers – actors, puppeteers, improv artists, musicians – build this brand of offbeat humour toward a satisfying end. Don’t let the crack-addicted puppets fool you: this is smart play.
Whether you bring your own booze or not, no Fringe experience is complete without a trip to The Enchanted Crackhouse (just don’t bring your kids).
- The Enchanted Crackhouse is an AlleyPlay staged in the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor Street West.
- Performances: July 9 8:30 PM, July 11 8:30, July 12 6:30, July 13 6:30, July 15 6:30
- Admittance to all AlleyPlays is on a “Pay What You Can” basis – advance tickets are not available.