My last show to review for the Toronto Fringe Festival and it’s Sunday evening, 10pm at the Tarragon.
Sundays have always been my favourite night of the week. They’re underrated, cool, for they’ve got that post-party, post-weekend daze to them. If I went on dates I would always choose Sundays. Because you want everybody at ease, right? None of that, ‘So, what kind of music do you listen to?’ over steak and muffins kind of awkward.
In lieu of a date: Stop Kiss by gun shy theatre, which, oddly enough, felt like a nice, uncomplicated rendezvous.
So tell me all about it, you beg? Okay.
The dialogue flows naturally between the main characters, Callie and Sarah, who are played by Melissa Hood and Kate Ziegler, respectively. They are in New York – Callie (Hood) a typical big-city-convert and Sarah (Ziegler) a fresh face looking to do good in the Bronx, also typical. Their rapport is amiable and we, the audience, bear witness to the growth of a very cute relationship.
The story of the night unfolds like an episode of a TV drama. I describe it as such because a minor, rather insignificant, reference to Law and Order was made by Callie’s best friend, George (played by Stefano DiMatteo), during the first half of Stop Kiss. It stuck because just like Law and Order, punctuated by the lighting and set switches, the mystery moved back and forth through time until the climactic finale.
Stop Kiss is rather anti-climactic, though. What the play at first seems to be preoccupied with is somewhat thwarted at its conclusion. It’s a clever disguise that is the very reason why the show felt gentle and uncomplicated. Because what it seemed to be concerned about was much more contentious than what it actually celebrates.
Given the gravity of the plot, the show is not ever stressful. It doesn’t step on any toes and it doesn’t tease emotions. Instead, it breezes by with some laughs, some concerns, and is overall a nice experience. This is not to downplay the obviously horrid crime that takes place. I leave with some things to think about but nothing I haven’t encountered before.
I don’t want words like ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomplicated’ to convey associations with ‘boring’ and/or ‘lackluster’, however. Gun shy theatre puts on a solid evening of drama. This is what conventional theatre reads like to me. It may be important to note that prior to this show, I spent all day going to and thinking about Clown productions. Thus, Stop Kiss may have seemed subdued in comparison.
It was a nice way to fringe a weekend. Ended with a kiss, ‘twas sweet.
Stop Kiss is playing at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue).
July 3 – 10:30pm July 6 – 5:15pm July 7 – 10:00pm July 8 – 08:00pm July 9 – 3:00pm July 11 – 12:00pm July 14 – 5:15pm
- Individual Fringe tickets ($10) are available during the festival, at Tarragon Theatre (1 hour prior to each performance), cash sales only. Latecomers will not be admitted.
- Advance $11 tickets available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416.966.1062, ext. 1, or 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.