Water (Young Jesters) – 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

The Fringe Kids lineup is a family-friendly way to get the next generation hooked on theatre, and Young Jesters’ production of Water at the Toronto Fringe Festival makes for a great introduction.

This kid-oriented, fast-paced piece tells the story of eight year old Olive who, because of her fear of swimming in the ocean, wishes that all the water in the world would disappear. When her wish is granted she learns about the importance of water for people and their environment.

Lauren Spring as the Narrator helps to guide us through the play, and facilitate the audience interaction. The kids’ responses get incorporated into the show, which means parts of it are improvised. All of the actors seem to relish this opportunity, especially Amelia Sargisson who managed to come up with several zingy one-liners on the spot Sunday night.

Water has the requisite goofy humour of children’s theatre, but there are plenty of jokes for grownups as well. There is a lot of fun to be had just in hearing the young audience member’s wacky answers to the Narrator’s questions.

Water is not just humorous however; it also imparts an important ecological and social message. I especially appreciated that a lack of access to clean drinking water wasn’t just portrayed as a “third world” issue, but also as one affecting many Canadians, in particular those living on First Nations reserves.

Water’s combination of humour and education proved capable of holding the young audience’s attention for the full 45 minutes of the production. Shows like Water will perhaps help create not only the next generation of theatre goers, but the next generation of environmental activists as well.

• Water is playing at the FringeKids! Venue – Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston Avenue) until July 15, 2012
• Showtimes are July 6 1:00pm, July 7 5:30pm, July 8 7:30pm, July 10 2:30pm, July 11 11:15am, July 12 7:00pm, July 14 5:45pm, July 15 1:45pm
• Tickets are $6 for kids and $10 for adults
• Tickets 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 (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
• Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows