FASTER Presents: The Elephant in the Room (FASTER) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

The company of FASTER

FASTER Presents: The Elephant in the Room is a show that brings abstract concert-style cabaret to the Toronto Fringe. But is Toronto ready for it? That’s the question.

I didn’t know what to expect of the show going in, and to be honest, I’m still not sure what to think after coming out of it. Let’s get the important information out of the way: the show is a 60-minute mixture of several different performance styles, courtesy of singer Kayla Milmine, musician Brian Abbott and dancer Allison Burns. The artists use both “whimsical adventure” and “existential angst” to describe their show, two phrases that could not be more different, much like the pieces themselves as they change from sad to quirky to dark. There’s no discernible plot, just quick transitions from piece to piece.

There’s puppetry – including a literal elephant in the room, a sad-eyed stuffed creature. There are costumes. There’s an audience sing along. And at one point, God sings a song. And all of this makes the show sound lighter than it is, because there are dark edges to every piece, like the song that proclaims that life is a circus… until you die.

Overall, I felt like the individual components showed talent and ingenuity, but there was a cohesiveness missing to the piece. One of the artists mentioned after the show that they’re more used to performing in smaller venues of 12 people, and I can see why. Their work seems better suited to a shadowy lounge, where you can sip your whiskey while dipping in and out of the performance as it grabs you.

All three of the artists who make up FASTER are talented, though I especially liked the quality of Milmine’s vocals. The show is an interesting mixture of old and new components – electronica mixed with jazz music, contemporary dance alongside pantomime, and three young performers displaying three old souls.

Details:

FASTER Presents: The Elephant in the Room plays at St. Vlad’s Theatre, 620 Spadina Avenue (near Harbord Street).

Show times:

July 04 at 03:30 PM
July 06 at 01:45 PM
July 08 at 02:45 PM
July 10 at 05:15 PM
July 11 at 09:45 PM
July 12 at 07:00 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 Brian Abbott, Kayla Milmine, Allison Burns and their pachyderm friend. Photo by Cindy Lopez.

2 thoughts on “FASTER Presents: The Elephant in the Room (FASTER) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. I agree with Crystal’s review. I really liked Kayla’s cabaret-style singing and Allison’s dancing was spritely. My biggest qualm, for anyone with hearing or cardiac issues, is the extended guitar feedback sequences. It was a real relief to get back to the quieter music.

  2. I sent a feedback (pardon the pun) form to the Fringe about the lack of warning about those guitar feedback sequences. I left with my ears ringing. I received a rapid response promising that it would be noted on the whiteboard outside the theatre.

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