Mooney on Theatre’s Hot Tickets for Fringe 2013

Our top picks for Toronto’s hottest theatre festival

Mooney on Theatre’s staff are, in general, a pleasant lot: there’s a reason people think we’re nice! But when Fringe rolls around, there are usually a good dozen assignments which have our writers climbing over each other and arguing like nine-year-olds.

“No fair! You got to review the decadent, juicy cabaret last season!”
“I never get to see Laura Anne Harris! Why can’t it be my turn?”
“If you don’t let me have the piece about gay pick-ups, I’m telling Wayne!”

Well, the dust has settled, the schedules have gone out, and Megan has sent four of us to the naughty corner. But wouldn’t you like to know which shows got our staff most excited? We’ve picked the top 6 most contentious Fringe shows from this summer’s festival and asked the lucky writer who landed the assignment to give us a short blurb on why they’re into it.

So: what are this season’s Mooney on Theatre Hot Tickets? Click the jump and find out!


S. Bear Bergman, one of our longstanding writers (with a new book out soon!) is looking forward to catching Excuse You, which invites audiences to “[c]ome and stand on the other side of the counter and see things from a different perspective. From the limits of frustrated patience to the reasons we keep coming back.” As Bear explains,

I’m a former customer service worker – hotel restaurant, store clerk, tech support call center – and I have story upon story of the ridiculous ways people behave when they can’t get their way. Or don’t know what way they want something. Or are just looking for someone upon whom they can vent the frustrations of their their exceptionally crappy day. So I am looking forward to 90 solid minutes of belly laughs, sympathy eye rolling, and vindication with this show.

Randy McDonald, one of our Fringe correspondents, snatched up Spoon as soon as it came available. This show, set in the highest reaches of the Glad Day Bookshop, explores how queer couples interact with gender roles which scarcely make sense to heterosexuals. If one partner insists on being the “little woman”, where does that leave the other?

I appreciate queer theory, I’ve always liked Glad Day Bookshop, and I quite prefer to use cutlery at a meal. Until I saw Spoon‘s listing in the Toronto Fringe, I never imagined there could be a play bringing these three things together. I really want to see what will happen.


Dana Ewachow picked up Charming Monsters, a gothic-looking ensemble piece about a young man who runs against the current in a small, eldritch town–and the lengths to which the townsfolk go to hide the body. This looks like one of the most heavily-designed pieces in the festival, promising to dazzle audiences with lights and costumes.

I chose Charming Monsters because most of my assignments are for comic pieces, so I felt good to choose something a little more dramatic. The description is confusing. All I know is that the content will be dark and I’m excited to see just how far it will go.


George Perry, another of our longtime correspondents, is so excited about Kill, Sister, Kill that I’m just going to let him speak for himself:

There’s a lot of reasons why I am excited to see Kill, Sister, Kill. The venue itself is great. I always enjoy visiting the Factory Theatre Mainspace. I am always treated to great art there, get to see and meet great people, and their beer garden is splendid! That’s kind of Fringe in a nutshell!

This play really jumped out at me on its own merits, too. The subject matter is New York City back was it was filthy and sick and interesting. That era gave us great Scorsese movies and essential music from Lou Reed, Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee.

Kill, Sister, Kill promises to marry great music and fun, gritty movies. What could be better as the lynchpins of a Fringe play? BTW, the preview trailer is a must see!
Gian Verano beat five other writers to pick up The Effects of Time Travel on Neurotic Homos, which positions itself as “a sharp witted comedy about personal identity and how it evolves with age”. Queer people have midlife crises too, you know–theirs just make for better Fringe shows, is all. And Gian finds that this theme hits close to home:
When I first read the description for this play, I thought, “Well, it’s a little early for somebody to written an autobiography about me”. In my experience, corporate and crazy go hand-in-hand, and we all wish we could undo mistakes we’ve made in the office.  And so I wanted to see what spin the show creators would put on this inescapable reality of modern life. Time travel, neurosis and self-deprecating humour – how could you go wrong?
And, finally, the lovely and talented Lauren Stein, one of our editors, was so excited about Adventure! that she grabbed it at her very first opportunity. A fairytale for adults, Adventure! promises to be a whizz-bang romp through the tropes and themes of the genre. Also there is a tiger.

I’m always seeking adventure, so it just seemed apropos to be automatically and immediately interested in seeing a show called Adventure! I also have an affinity for things that involve knights, jousting, wenches, trumpets, comedy and squires. I also remember seeing Andy Trithardt perform (alongside a friend of mine) in Jeremy Taylor’s Montreal Fringe show The King of Fifteen Island, and only have good memories about it so I figured Adventure! would probably be comparably excellent.

All images provided by the presenting company, C/O Toronto Fringe Festival.