Mo and Jess Kill Susie is the first play I have seen at The Toronto’s Fringe Festival 2013. It might also be the best play I’ve ever seen at Fringe. It’s a site specific play with performances happening at the lower level of Trinity-St. Paul’s. When the play finished, I dried my eyes then contacted my editors. My message was simple: I love this play!
The cast of three is all female, and the audience was at least 80 per cent female on the night I attended. Don’t get the wrong idea though: Mo and Jess Kill Susie is anything but a stroller convention. This could very well be the most intense, violent play I have seen.
Mo and Jess Kill Susie is the story of two women who take a female police officer hostage. It’s an act of terrorism that goes wrong, very wrong. Do acts of terrorism ever go “right”?
Yes, the play was written by a man (Gary Henderson). No, it isn’t overly clever by turning the tables and making women more violent than men. I thought at times it spoke in a female voice that I disagreed with as a male.
The women playing Mo (Siobhan Richardson) and Jess (Katie Messina) are both absolutely riveting. They both bring a charisma, a soul, to their roles that make these two violent female characters relatable. That’s no small feat, and Richardson and Messina have an amazing chemistry onstage that I hope is explored further.
I’ve seen Jacklyn Francis (Susie) in other plays and thought she was magnificent. I haven’t made up my mind about this performance yet. I thought she made the kidnapped police office come across as more of an entitled socialite than a person serving the public. At times Susie’s police pyscho-babble came across as transparent and annoying, and I really did encourage Mo to pull the trigger. Maybe we are supposed to feel that way, who knows?
Mo and Jess Kill Susie is a play that will engage you from start to finish. At over an hour, it will feel like 10 or 15 minutes. To paraphrase a line from the play, “the minutes keep getting thicker”. Come to think of it, “engage” might be too weak of a word. What’s a four-letter word for “soil your Levi’s”?
This is an absolute gem that I would love to see again, perhaps in a slightly more polished form. I strongly advise arriving early or securing advanced tickets, as seating is limited.
- Mo and Jess Kill Susie is playing at Trinity St. Paul’s – Lower Level (427 Bloor Street)
- Showtimes: July 03 07:30 PM , July 04 07:30 PM, July 05 07:30 PM, July 06 01:30 PM, July 06 07:30 PM, July 07 07:30 PM, July 08 07:30 PM, July 10 07:30 PM, July 11 07:30 PM, July 12 07:30 PM, July 13 01:30 PM, July 13 07:30 PM
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
- Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows