Out to Lunch (Half Second Echo) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

 Half Second Echo presents Out to Lunch at Fringe 2014

Among the many offerings at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year toronto dance troupe Half Second Echo offers up the opportunity to see bizarre, bird-like life on an alien world, a killer rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, a “Misfits Anonymous” meeting, and the Shatner-esque narration of a fictional documentary and more, all presented through the lens of dance in Out to Lunch, playing at Tarragon Mainspace.

True to its Star Trek muse, Out to Lunch insists on going into uncharted territory, sometimes to its peril, but it emerges as a lively piece of theatre that captures the daring, exuberant spirit at the heart of Fringe.

Out to Lunch gives newcomers to dance theatre a good place to begin exploring the art form. The opening scene is half documentary, half dance, and follows the intricate social relations of a bird-like species on an alien world. An unseen narrator propels the story forward, his monologue complementing the scene’s choreography, and laying the foundation for more complex (and unspoken) scenes to come. The uniqueness of its opening act may be reason enough to give Out to Lunch a shot.

Half Second Echo’s greatest feat with Out to Lunch lies in their ability to mirror the complexity of the play’s themes with an ever-increasing subtlety in their performances. Lighting, costume, music and vocalization are used to excellent effect. The cast and crew’s mastery of the interaction between these elements – halting all action on stage with a sudden screech, restricting movement through costume and thereby redefining the possibilities of dance – will set Half Second Echo apart at this year’s Fringe.

As with so many promising works, Out to Lunch isn’t flawless in its execution. This is Half Second Echo’s first full-length production and at times the play feels stretched, particularly toward the end. The choreography is at times overly ambitious, and once or twice breaks the mood of the play.

But it’s still worth viewing Out to Lunch for its many truly unique moments, and for its spirited portrayal of belonging, exile, and the human desire to reach for things just beyond our grasp.



Out to Lunch is playing until July 12, 2014 at Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave, near Bathurst and Dupont)

Show times
July 02 at 08:45 PM
July 06 at 01:15 PM
July 08 at 07:00 PM
July 09 at 04:00 PM
July 10 at 05:45 PM
July 11 at 01:45 PM
July 12 at 11:30 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.

Photo provided by the company

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