The Legend of White Woman Creek by The Coldharts is a unique musical that is thankfully present at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. The show begins with a professor, played by the talented Katie Hartman, who has become obsessed with the tale of Anna Morgan Faber. Hartman confides that Faber, also called Anna-Wee , is the ghost that haunts a creek in Kansas. Hartman places candles around her and performs a seance, invoking Anna-Wee. The circle is completed, Hartman is possessed, and she sings her tale.
At first, the show is set-up like a hair-raising thriller. Hartman warns of the possibility of paranormal activity that could endanger the audience. When she becomes Anna-Wee she whispers a creepy tune describing the woman who haunts the creek, crying and clawing at her face. The set-up is one of monstrous revenge, but what follows is a very human tragedy. Instead of fearing the ghost, I understood how she came to be. I felt her pain, her anger, and her sorrow in her songs.
Katie Hartman’s voice brings the songs to life. Her songs were so emotionally resonant, I forgot it was all an act. She had the range to raise goosebumps on my forearms during a soft lullaby, and make the room vibrate when she belted out vows of vengeance. Hartman’s voice hit me in the pit of my stomach. It was so beautiful and haunting, that the feeling still stirs hours later.
Her singing touched the entire audience. At the end of the show, she received a well-deserved standing ovation. I promise you, this show is worth seeing. Bring friends, family, and anyone else you can take. Then watch and be awed.
July 06 at 09:15 PM
July 07 at 08:45 PM
July 08 at 03:15 PM
July 10 at 11:00 PM
July 11 at 12:30 PM
July 12 at 01:45 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 Hartman by Mark Ryan