All too often, given the amount of pieces on offer at Fringe festivals, it tends to be difficult to understand what some shows are about from the small blurb provided to the public. With 155 artistic offerings in the 2012 edition, the Toronto Fringe is no exception to this rule. Aerial Allusions, presented by Azana, is one of those shows, claiming to cover the spectrum of human emotions through dance solos, duos, monologues, aerial fabric work, music and clowning; all in the span of 50 minutes at the Annex Theatre.
I couldn’t help but feel that the show was getting off to a slow start when I saw it’s Sunday evening performance, but this allowed me time to try to figure out what exactly it was that I was watching. As one number followed another, I found myself still not being able to answer that question, and wondering if the show itself knew what it was about.
As I listened to monologues and watched dance numbers which I felt were stretched on for far too long simply to fill in the music that was playing for each one, I began to wonder what exactly myself and the sparse audience attending had gotten ourselves into.
My patience was rewarded though, as at about the midpoint of the show Azana Pilar began a solo dance sequence, which eventually led her up to her aerial fabric.
Now I’m of the opinion that unless you really know what you’re doing, most circus arts can end up looking quite awkward. Pilar however quickly proved to all in attendance that when up there, she was completely in her element.
When Co-star Jason Morneau eventually joined her back on the stage, the two were able to keep the momentum in the show going, albeit only for a short time. Things quickly fell back into what I thought was the tediousness that had permeated the beginning of the show, with the lone bright spot being when Morneau was given the stage to himself.
Left to his own devices, he proved at home free-styling to some hip-hop beats, and managed his own set of decidedly more masculine aerial techniques. This too came to an end though in favor of the previous formula, and so wasn’t enough to win me over for the show.
To say I left the show conflicted is a bit of an understatement. Both performer/creators were in my opinion quite good at their respective areas of expertise, with the skills they showed taking time, commitment, and above all lots of work to do properly.
It seemed odd to me then that between the two of them they couldn’t see the ways in which their bright spots were being dragged down by the rest of the show. It felt to me like maybe it was just a miscalculation on their part as to how to heighten for the audience the time they spent in the air; but if that’s the case, it certainly wasn’t the type of allusion I was hoping for when I walked in.
- Aerial Allusions plays at Venue 5 – Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst St)
- Showtimes are: July 06, Friday, 8:45PM; July 07, Saturday, 4:00PM; July 08, Sunday, 9:45PM; July 10, Tuesday, 2:15PM; July 11, Wednesday, 1:45PM; July 12, Thursday, 7:30PM; July 14, Saturday, 9:15PM.
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also 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