Fact, faith, blind trust, truth, free will and of course, the usual: who, what, why, when and where is God, are all questions probed in the quick witted Jesus Jello: The Miraculous Confection. It seems almost too obvious to perform this play in a church, but it works just the same. Especially for the Toronto Fringe Festival.
A play written by the wry pen of Joanne Sarazen, it tells the story of Miles, a teenage boy who sees the likeness of Jesus in his Jell-o. He is the product of an odd family unit, where father seems to always know what’s right without really putting it into practice, mother coddles too much, and sister has purposely fallen off the wagon on the path to righteousness. Interspersed with two sub-plots that follow a very entertaining gay couple and a darling, but sad older woman, the piece is framed and narrated by the plucky Emily Quaile, who plays God.
Truth be told, I’ve been waiting to see this show for a few years now. I heard about it back when it was playing the Montreal Fringe Festival and then when it was remounted again in Montreal. While I never had a chance to see it in my hometown, I certainly snapped up the opportunity when I saw it on the Toronto Fringe’s bill. I’m somewhat familiar with Joanne’s acting chops, but am glad I finally got a chance to take in her writing.
The text for this show is absolutely solid. It’s a really good mix of being accessibly lyrical, frank, witty and touching all at once. I think the cast she’s got backs the text up fairly well for the most part, and some of my personal stand outs were Mike Vitorovich (Cliff) and Christopher Hays (Justin).
Others, like Laura Vincent (Candace) and Vesna Radencovic (Lynette), seemed to slacken the energy at certain points and their words rang with a little less sincerity. I’m going to chalk this up to first performance flubs though, as I’m certain once they’ve gotten, at most, two more shows under their belts, the comfort level will be there.
The only things I found a bit awkward, and again this might have to do with a first-performance-comfort-level thing, was the staging at certain sections and the pacing. There were some scenes that felt a bit slow, which brings me to another sore point for this show: the seating.
People, get there early. There’s one row of chairs, a row of benches and the rest of you fine folk will have to sit on the floor. It’s not the most comfortable experience, but hey, it’s Fringe.
I foresee this show picking up some slack as the run goes on, and the text is great, so why not get your a— to church!
Jesus Jello: The Miraculous Confection is playing at College Street United Church (452 College St.).
July 05 08:00 PM
July 06 08:00 PM
July 07 08:00 PM
July 11 08:00 PM
July 12 08:00 PM
July 13 08:00 PM
July 14 02:00 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
Photo of the cast of Jesus Jello: The Miraculous Confection