To truly enjoy No One Needs to Know Shania put on by Lady Grey Productions for the Toronto Fringe Festival, I’d suggest you show up to The Monarch Tavern a little bit early, have a few beers, and then watch the magic of the Shania Twain biopic unfold through one excellent cover-band concert.
Just a warning, though, don’t sit in the middle row nearest to the pillar. You may think this will give you a prime view of the mainstage where most of the action takes place – and it will – but you’ll miss the singing and dancing almost entirely. Take my word on this one.
No One Needs to Know Shania focuses on the early life of Shania Twain – back when she was Eileen Twain – and the events that lead to her first number one single.
Although there are some really meaty plot points in this story – Twain’s parents passed away when she was 22 leaving her primarily responsible for raising her siblings – I found the plot to be meandering and almost arbitrary. It felt inevitable that Twain would become a star and nothing ever seemed to inconvenience that goal.
That didn’t make Twain telling off the producer of her first album for criticizing her for showing off her midriff in the video for “What Made You Say That” any less gleeful for me. I just felt like the play ended right where I start to get interested in Shania’s story, but I think that’s just because I like stories about artists’ rise to fame.
Alexis Taylor is spunky, sweet, and likable as the young Eileen Twain. She gets a chance to show off her emotional range in some of the story’s darker moments, but it’s her goofy, bubbly Shania that really stands out to me. Her recreation of the aforementioned music video is hysterically funny and got big laughs from the audience.
Taylor also gets to show off her vocal range as she sings almost a dozen songs from Shania’s early catalogue. Sometimes her high notes can sound a little bit like mediocre Shania karaoke, but she hits a sweet spot in her lower register that makes it all okay.
If you’re looking for a good time learning about the Canadian roots of the Queen of Country Pop, going to see this show is a no-brainer. It’s just plain old good country fun.
July 03 at 07:00 PM
July 04 at 07:00 PM
July 05 at 07:00 PM
July 06 at 05:00 PM
July 07 at 07:00 PM
July 10 at 07:00 PM
July 11 at 07:00 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 Alexis Taylor by Matthew Barber.