Prisoners & Criminals (Escape Velocity Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Staging a one man show is no easy task. But Jarret Wright makes it look effortless. Prisoners & Criminals (Escape Velocity Productions), written by Wright himself, is currently playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival and it features a remarkable performance that deserves to be seen.

A series of monologues dealing with the theme of imprisonment, Prisoners & Criminals sees Wright playing several different characters with each one completely distinguishable from the next. Through the use of minimal props and pieces of wardrobe, Wright swiftly makes his transitions into each new character. But it’s the nuances and mannerisms in Wright’s performance that truly brings these characters to life. It extends beyond putting on a hat to look different from the previous character: he becomes the person and it’s simply fascinating to watch.

The theme of war is also prevalent. I’m not sure when it was written, but the show also provides some social commentary (perhaps subconsciously) on today’s world, where the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are finally becoming recognized and understood.

My favourite aspect of the show, aside from Wright’s great performance, was the blend of drama and comedy in the monologues. This made the characters resonate more with me. It works as an accurate reflection of what “real life” is like. It was well paced too, with subtle characters placed in between the more boisterous ones.

Both amusing and heart wrenching, Prisoners & Criminals provides a glimpse into the lives of several different men who are all held prisoner by something. It shouldn’t be missed.


Prisoners & Criminals is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place)

Show times
July 6 8:15pm
July 7 10:15pm
July 9 4:00pm
July 10 2:15pm
July 12 9:45pm
July 13 12:00pm

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online at , 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 Escape Velocity Productions.