About Allegra (Come From Away Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

About Allegra is the story of an affair, an affair between a married mom and the young, attractive student taking residence in her basement. Sound like The Graduate? Yes, yes it does.

This sexually charged cat and mouse story of seduction is playing at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival and it’ll surely get the temperatures rising, but unfortunately it also left me wanting more.

Blair (played by Simu Liu) is the student that moves into Allegra’s (Megan MacDonald) basement. Slowly the two meet as Allegra ventures downstairs to use the laundry room and soon begin passionate yet delicate affair behind Megan’s husband’s back. The story is told in flashback scenes and dialogue as if both are speaking to a counselor or therapist.

My favorite performer of the two has to be Liu (aside from the fact that he’s incredibly easy on the eyes, especially after he sheds his clothing) but his energy is high and palpable. He plays a student of the Romantics and loves that the lady upstairs is named after Lord Byron’s daughter. The idea of being with an older woman who’s married is exciting and dangerous and he portrays it well.

MacDonald on the other hand, I felt she was too young for the role – it begs of an older woman, one who being with a younger man is new and exciting. I also found her line delivery to be stunted, like she didn’t believe her own character.

I was getting into the hang of how the story was playing out, the stories, the couples’ counselling feel of it, the flashback scenes, but then it ended all too quickly. The momentum was lost, the build-up dropped too quickly. The final tragedy unprocessed. I wanted more follow through, a proper finish to this story. At just under an hour, I think there could have been a lot more.

It’s a great work in progress but I find that there’s more that could be added to this progress than what’s on the stage now.

About Allegra plays at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst Street, at Bathust and Lennox).

Show times
July 05 at 03:30 PM
July 06 at 02:15 PM
July 08 at 08:30 PM
July 10 at 03:30 PM
July 11 at 11:30 PM
July 12 at 04:00 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.

Promotional poster provided by the company.