The Truth About Comets (The Quickening Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

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A woman returns home to see her estranged mother after her grandmother has fallen into a coma. As a comet passes overhead the eerie voice of a boy who disappeared over fifty years ago is heard intermittently on a radio. Who is the boy and how will his return affect the fate of the three women? The Truth About Comets is an atmospheric two-hander presented by The Quickening Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Multi-talented performers Ingrid Hansen and Ginette Mohr play about eight different characters between them, sing and perform “object puppetry” throughout the show.

Director Kate Fenton stages a modest but resourceful production that’s pretty sleek for its scope and scale. I was impressed by the attention to detail in the show’s design elements. Jim Plaxton’s lighting design makes creative use of hand-held lights wielded by the actors to great effect. Thomas Ryder Payne’s sound design is essential to creating the eerie atmospheric quality that pervades the show.

I also enjoyed the way the actors would sing torch songs from the 1940s as transitions between scenes.

However, I also think the script needs some more work. I would have liked to see more character development. The mother-daughter relationship would be more compelling if the source of their tension was fleshed out a bit more. While the show is darkly atmospheric, it never really builds the level of intrigue and sense of dramatic tension that it needs to be really engaging.

In the program notes the company acknowledges that this is a show in development. I think there’s a solid base here and with a little re-working of the script The Truth About Comets would really pop.

Details:

  • The Truth About Comets plays at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space, Venue 2 (30 Bridgman Ave.)
  • Show times: July 05 05:45 PM, July 06 07:00 PM, July 07 10:30 PM, July 09 08:45 PM, July 10 09:15 PM, July 11 01:45 PM, July 13 12:00 PM
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at the Fringe Club, 581 Bloor St. W, July 3rd-14th, noon – 10pm (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

Photo of Ingrid Hansen and Ginette Mohr by Kate Fenton

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