Megan Loves: Assassinating Thomson (Monster Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe

bruce_horak_assassinating_thomson4Okay, so, that title of this article sounds a little strange, since this is the first in what I imagine will be a series of pieces in a “Megan Loves” series.

Obviously what I’m saying is I loved Monster Theatre’s piece currently at Toronto Fringe, written and performed by Bruce Horak, which happens to be called Assassinating Thomson. While there is much speculation around the iconic Canadian artist’s death, I can confirm absolutely and without a doubt that *I* did not kill the man.

I loved this show. Which is good, because I’ve been dying to see it since I first heard of it, and sometimes being that excited about a piece can set me up for disappointment.

Mostly I wanted to see it because I love the mystery around Tom Thomson’s death. I wanted to hear more. Somehow, when we got the press release I misread it and when it said the legally blind actor would be “painting the audience” during the show, I assumed it was a metaphor.

We’ll blame that on my skimming of many many press releases, shall we? But while editing the review written by George Perry that we published during our regular Fringe reviewing period, I got even more excited about the show. This is pretty ironic, because it turns out that the show wasn’t to George’s taste and he gave a negative review. But there was enough stuff in there to not only reminded me about my existing excitement, and it also clarified that the painting taking place was no metaphor, it was a real live application of paint to canvas board.

When I adore a show like this I find it so hard to know where to start. Let’s start with Horak himself. He’s fantastic. His performance style is warm and welcoming. This is a really important thing, because, while the blurb about the show tells us he’s talking about Thomson, and Thomson certainly factors heavily, really this is a show about Horak, so it’s important that we connect with him.

He is a masterful storyteller. The pieces about Thomson and other Canadian artists, including the Group of Seven, who he seems to have kind of paved the way for, were great fun. Both entertaining, and provided a teensie bit of trivia to take a way to my next party.

But really, it was Horak’s story I was involved in. My laughter was attracting attention from other audience members. My tears were quieter, attracting less attention. Either way, it was his story touched me.

After the show was over Horak put the easel with the freshly finished 8″x10″ (I think) painting of the audience down on the floor.

Bruce Hoak Assassinating Thomson

He invited the audience to come take a look. This photo doesn’t do it justice, I was taking the picture very quickly because there was a long line behind me. In fact, as we walked towards it I heard my guest for the show (one of my writers, Sam Mooney, aka, my mum –Nepotism for the win!)  gasp and say “It’s beautiful!” I thought so too.

Oh, and, for the record, in case you’re wondering, she also loved the show.

There are two more shows of this. Go to them. Buy your tickets right now so that you can get them, and, if you don’t, then make sure you get there an hour before curtain so you can buy them and get in.


    • 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.

3 thoughts on “Megan Loves: Assassinating Thomson (Monster Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe”

  1. Oh, I’m so pleased it got a second review. I thought it was fantastic. It’s been my favourite of the Fringe.

  2. I loved it. It was on my wish list to review but…

    Bruce postcarded me in a line and he was so lovely that it made me really want to see his show.

    Then I looked up his painting online and that made me determined to see the show.

    The stuff about Thomson is interesting and made me want to find out more but, like Megan, it was his story that touched me. Amazing man.

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