Desperately Seeking Something (Borderline Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

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I’m willing to bet that when Borderline Theatre rented the Chapel at Trinity St Paul’s for their Toronto Fringe production of Desperately Seeking Something they didn’t know about the very loud tango class happening tonight in the next room at the same time. UGH! It was definitely a distraction. Kudos to Leah Holder (Artemis) for dealing with it so gracefully.

Nellwyn Lampert has written a lovely play and it deserves to be seen and heard without distractions.

I like plays with natural sounding dialogue delivered in a natural sounding way. Lampert’s dialogue flows smoothly. Annie (Ewa Wolniczek) and Jake (Fraser Elsdon) sound like young people I know, like people I would enjoy knowing.

There are actually two stories unfolding at the same time in the play. Annie is searching for something to give meaning to her her life. She thinks that she wants to be a nun. She’s moved into the chapel in a United Church and is reading scores of books about religion to help her make up her mind.

Jake – her ex-boyfriend – doesn’t really understand what’s happening but starts to examine his life and finds it empty.

At the same time Artemis, the Greek goddess who protected young girls and women is also in the chapel watching Annie. Her sister Persephone (Katie Corbridge) – the goddess of the underworld – and her brother-in-law Hades (Scott Law) – god of the underworld – are there too. Even the gods are searching for meaning. They’re caught between the old ways and the new.

The stories unfold separately and co-exist comfortably. The cast works well together. I hadn’t realized there was no interaction between Annie and Jake and the gods until I started to write this.

Director Darwin Lyons has made good use of a narrow space that could be quite awkward. For the most part Annie and Jake’s story is at one end and the gods’ at the other. The audience is very close to the cast – maybe a yard away – and the lights in the room are on for most of the play. It makes things very open. The actors have nowhere to hide.

Desperately Seeking Something was a very satisfying show. Good script, appealing characters, a strong cast, tight direction. Definitely worth seeing.

Details

Desperately Seeking Something is playing at Trinity St. Paul’s – Chapel, (427 Bloor St W)

Show times
July 04 at 08:00 PM
July 05 at 02:30 PM
July 06 at 02:30 PM
July 09 at 08:00 PM
July 10 at 08:00 PM
July 11 at 08:00 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.

Photo of Katie Corbridge, Leah Holder, & Scott Law by Alexandra Petruck