Theatre Howl’s production of Aiden Flynn Lost His Brother So He Makes Another plays at the Tarragon Extraspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s an inventive and touching little show, a truly great start to my Fringing.
This show tells a tale of a young boy who tries to help his family heal from a tragedy by creating a brother from scraps found on their farm. It cleverly riffs on the familiar Frankenstein’s monster but this story’s intentions are quite different and the echoes from Shelley’s classic are light and airy.
When we first meet Aiden he’s tall and gangly, dressed in patched-up overalls and lugging a crude wagon full of whimsical odds and ends. From the first few moments I was transported back to my childhood, to a time when I believed magic could be made from scraps of rope and bottles of muddy water. Aiden is a dreamer who sees creative possibilities in whatever strange items cross his path.
The makeshift look of the production is stunning in its low-tech, pure-inspiration way. Just like Aiden is forced to use the materials at hand, the stage is transformed into compelling environments with the simplest of set dressings. Projections play a big role in the form of surprisingly effective shadowplay and hand-drawn backdrops—both of which are achieved with one of those trusty overhead projectors I remember from elementary school.
There is no dialogue. The story is fleshed out by the remarkable mime-work of Morgan Murray and Danielle Spilchen. There isn’t a single moment that is rushed or laboured. They take their time building the world of this relationship, which is full to bursting with humour, terror and awe.
So much care has gone into the details! The palette of earth tones—beiges and browns—that suggest the dusty, dreary circumstances that lead to Aiden’s creation suddenly give way to a burst of colour when hope returns. There are small, intimate gestures that suggest deep emotions. Sometimes, two hands coming together can say more than a torrent of words.
The story and presentation are seamless in a rough and tumble—grab this, flip that over, push it along—sort of way.
If there were one key idea I took home with me, it’s this: keep faith in life, even when the challenges are overwhelming, even when you have to hold it together like twigs with twine.
It won me over—this goofy, stylish and poignant show. See it!
Aiden Flynn Lost His Brother So He Makes Another plays at the Tarragon Extraspace (30 Bridgeman Ave, near Bathurst and Dupont).
July 02 at 06:30 PM
July 04 at 01:15 PM
July 05 at 07:00 PM
July 06 at 03:30 PM
July 07 at 10:15 PM
July 09 at 12:00 PM
July 12 at 05:15 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), 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 if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Image provided by the company.