A Fun, Smart Play About Queer Theory At The Toronto Fringe Festival
I had really been looking forward to seeing Spoon. The mention of a play in this year’s Fringe that explores queer theory through the lives of a gay couple trying to make sense of gender stereotypes caught my interest. Happily, this play more than delivers on its promise.
Performed in the third-floor loft of the Glad Day Bookshop at 598 Yonge Street just west of Wellesley station, the play opens with Charlie (Spencer Charles Smith) and his boyfriend Andrew (Owen Fawcett) moving into their new Yonge Street apartment. The pair’s initial excitement at embarking on their new joint life soon becomes complicated as they fight over what each will bring to the relationship, what each person will be in the relationship.
Charlie wants nothing more than to play the stereotypically female role in the relationship, with Andrew being the man, the dominant partner who takes charge and is handy and doesn’t cry. Andrew’s not nearly so comfortable with this. Does every relationship need opposites? Out of the closet amid a clattering of spoons steps Judy (Katie Sly), ready to share what she knows about gender to the couple and the waiting audience.
This staging of Spoon is very strong. Performed by Straight Camp, the script by Spencer Charles Smith is intellectually acute and fun to watch, with believable dialogue and credible dialogue. The actors are also quite good: Smith and Fawcett did a great job of illustrating an evening and a night in the life of a convincing–and convincingly polarized–couple. Sly caught my attention with her remarkable range, switching from her restrained severe Judy complete with black “I am not Judith Butler” T-shirt sharing accessible theory, to a remarkably uninhibited Daisy Dukes-wearing neighbour overfond of her neighbours and Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”, and (eventually) back again.
The set, meanwhile, made great use of the loft space provided by Glad Day; I could easily believe myself in an apartment that was just starting to be inhabited, full of fold-out chairs and crates and boxes and blankets. (It was a nice touch that the audience actually was seated on said fold-out chairs, crates, boxes, and the occasional blanket.)
One of the many Judith Butler quotes shared by Sly’s Judy is to the effect that traditional theories of gender both do us and undo it, giving the people who live by them ideas how to live while discouraging these same people from trying anything need. It’s the great credit of everyone involved in this performance of Spoon that it gets these complex ideas across so enjoyably.
Spoon is playing at Glad Day Bookshop, 598A Yonge Street.
Wednesday July 3 – 8:00 pm
Thursday July 4 – 8:00 pm
Friday July 5 – 8:00 pm
Saturday July 6 – 8:00 pm
Sunday July 7 – 8:00 pm
Monday July 8 – 8:00 pm
Tuesday July 9 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday July 10 – 8:00 pm
Thursday July 11 – 8:00 pm
Friday July 12 – 8:00 pm
Sunday July 14 – 8:00 pm
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10, 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.
Spoon features strong language, sexual content, and violence.
Poster provided by the company