How to become a Spinster (Peppermill Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review


One of the many joys of watching a Fringe show is that there are so many new and innovative ways a performance is presented to us. How to become a Spinster by Peppermill Productions comes in the form of a seminar. The result is a lively, hilarious and interactive take on the subject of being single, which gets much deserved spotlight instead of the oh so clichéd quest for love.

Diana Galligan and Wanda Carroll start the show energetically, throwing questions into the audience. “What does a spinster mean to you?” they ask. “Fun,” says an audience member. A simple, but most perfect word to describe the show. They take us through ten practical and amusing steps towards achieving lifelong spinsterhood and thus happiness and fulfillment. Each of these steps is a comic sketch that had the audience doubling over with laughter.

Spinster is a gender-neutral term according to the two leads – anyone with a pulse can become a spinster. Once you have embraced your inner spinster and made a commitment, you have to discover your spinster name. Do this exercise with me:

First Name – Grandparents First or Parents’ Second
Middle Name – Ice cream flavour or Flavour of Tea
Last Name – car you’ve been in or street you’ve lived on

Mine’s Hafiza Butterscotch Thorncliffe. How wicked does that sound?!

These ladies are sassy and confident. They show you to be completely comfortable in your skin. They urge you to dance like no one’s watching. They ask you to exercise and wear whatever you want. They teach you to make witty comebacks at annoying things people say to singletons:

“Have you thought of freezing your eggs?”

“Yes, right next to my sausages!”

Both Galligan and Carroll have great comedic prowess. Their respective characters are played with enthusiasm, warmth, animation and cheerful humour.

The stage at Factory Theatre is too large for the set, I felt. The staging consists of a board, two chairs and a screen separator. I would’ve liked to have seen more characters in the show, more spinsters. The transitions from one scene to the next were not as smooth and there were brief moments of lull on stage. Minor hiccups, and nothing that can’t be ironed out.

Whether you want to be a spinster for 3 hours or 50 years, being a spinster is about celebrating yourself and doing things your way.

Fear of loneliness, listen to this – when I’m on my own path, there is nothing missing. With this I embrace my inner spinster. If for whatever reason I find myself in another kind of commitment, I promise to take a break and do something just for myself.


How to Become a Spinster is playing at the Factory Theatre Mainstage (125 Bathurst St)

Remaining Performances

July 08 08:30 PM
July 10 09:15 PM
July 11 02:15 PM
July 12 05:45 PM
July 13 05:45 PM


  • Tickets for all Mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only.
  • Advance tickets are $11, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062 ext. 1), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West)
  • Money-saving value packs are also available; see website for details.
  • LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Diana Galligan and Wanda Carroll provided by the company

One thought on “How to become a Spinster (Peppermill Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the show tonight, although the reviewer does raise a good point about the size of the stage, not likely in the performers’ control. The audience was upbeat and enthusiastic, and a good time was had by all. A nice surprisingly enjoyable romp, and I discovered I am a “fishter” (tonight’s name for male spinster) and ran with it. Two VERY talented and delightful ladies. GO see it!

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