Killcreek (Beautiful Gem and bojit Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

 

The play Killcreek, playing at the Randolph Theatre in this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival dramatizes the story of Rick (played by Romaine Waite), his wife Maddy (played by Angela C. Brown), and her recovering alcoholic brother Daryl (played by Dan Cristofori).

Set in the 1950’s, drama ensues when the mining company in their small town reopens, Rick goes back to work there, and Daryl proves to be a financial and emotional strain on the family household. I enjoy and commend theatre that broaches difficult subject matter, but the inconsistent tone of Killcreek kept me from connecting to the traumatic events that unfold.

Starting on a good note, Waite establishes himself as a strong performer right out of the gate, with sharp focus in his delivery and consistent energy in his portrayal of Rick. I found Brown to have some projection and pacing issues in the first scene, but I can chalk that up to opening night jitters. By her second appearance she had settled into her role of Maddy and was able to play off Mike well.

So then I was into it. I initially found that both the writing and performances were drawing me into a story that I wanted to hear about. I was on board with the production’s mandate of bringing to light stories that don’t often get told.

But then, quite abruptly, the character of Mrs. Cranston (played by Cheryl Bain), the owner of the town’s mining company, took me completely out of the story. I found it was a combination of the writing and the performance of this character that was very one-dimensional (which seemed inconsistent because I had initially found the writing by playwright Brandon Pitts to be quite sensitive).

If it was a creative choice to have Mrs. Cranston be a caricature of the ‘1 percent’ instead of a relatable person, then that decision really didn’t work for me. It is in direct conflict with the tone of the rest of the play and performances. The play does not set itself up to be a satire, and even if Mrs. Cranston is to be seen that way, I found nothing witty or funny in the portrayal of this character.

Bain’s performance of this laughable villain sticks out like a sore thumb. The real problem for me is that this character plays an integral role in the play’s tension, crisis, and outcome, and because I was taken out of the moment every time she stepped on stage, I could not stay connected to the story’s content and development.

I think this play exhibits promising talent from several of its cast members. Waite was a stand out for me, Cristofori was consistent in his role of Daryl, and Brown exhibited sincere moments. In his writing, Pitts is exploring engaging and thought provoking content, and at times I felt his writing had depth, but if Killcreek is to continue on beyond the Fringe, I think some serious rethinking has to be done regarding the inconsistent tone and performances of this play.

Details

  • Killcreek is playing at The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street.)
  • Friday, July 5, 2013 -­‐ 7:00pm -­‐ 8:00pm Sunday, July 7, 2013 -­‐ 3:30pm -­‐ 4:30pm, Monday July 8, 2013 -­‐ 10:30pm -­‐ 11:30pm, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 -­‐ 1:45pm -­‐ 2:45pm Thursday, July 11, 2013 -­‐ 9:15pm -­‐ 10:15pm Saturday, July 13, 2013 -­‐ 7:30pm -­‐ 8:30pm Sunday, July 14, 2013 -­‐ 5:15pm -­‐ 6:15pm
  • All individual Fringe tickets are 10$ ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only) and go on sale one hour before showtime. 50% of tickets are available in advance and are $11 ($9+$2 service charge), these can be purchased online at www.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.

Please note that there is absolutely no latecomer seating during the Toronto Fringe Festival

Photo provided by Theatre Company