When All is Said and Get Served (Alexandra Elliott Dance) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

When All is Said and Get Served is a contemporary dance double bill playing at the Al Green Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Choreographed by dancer Alexandra Elliott, these two performances explore the nuances of human communication. Did they manage to communicate and capture the audience? Not quite.

Granted this was a rather drag-your-heels type of an afternoon after a very late night of Fringe-ing so my mind wasn’t performing at its peak. The droning, rather tuneless, sounds-like-it’s-coming-from-ten-feet-under-water music used for When All is Said didn’t help.

The redeeming quality is the visual appeal of the dance, Elliott is an impressive choreographer and the alien blob-like mass she transformed her dancers into was definitely attention grabbing. The whole piece felt very alien. One dancer stands out to tell a story of sorts through her movement, the others react in turn and then assimilates her back into the blob. Interpret from that what you will.

I did like the acrobatic-ness of the piece and how dancers climbed on the limbs of the others, and used the other bodies as platforms to create unique visual levels and as places to launch themselves from.

But after a while the movement felt repetitive and the dance continued on longer than I felt it needed to deliver the point. Of course the droning music didn’t help.

The second dance Get Served felt more intriguing as plates were hung from the ceiling and chairs were arranged in groupings. Elliott takes the stage solo and re-enacts through interpretive dance a waitress’ worst nightmare during the heaviest of Saturday night dinner rushes.

So I get it, crazed waitress dancing on the last of her spoons loses her mind. At least the music was more upbeat and, well, carried a tune.

But the message got somewhat lost in the medium as the audience first had to watch Elliott play creative Jenga with the chairs while someone off stage threw trays at her. The buildup took a while, and once the realization was caught, the descent into madness also took its time. When the performance feels like it’s over, a new song plays over the speakers and the dance continues.

I, perhaps, am not the best to be critiquing dance but glancing around the audience, I found that a few seemed to have zoned out in their own way. Guess this wasn’t the best afternoon for interpretive contemporary dance for a few people.


When All is Said and Get Served play at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Ave. at Bloor and Spadina)

Show times

July 05 at 07:30 PM
July 06 at 10:30 PM
July 07 at 08:30 PM
July 09 at 09:15 PM
July 11 at 05:45 PM
July 12 at 04:00 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.

 To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Hilary Crist, Alexandra Elliott, Janelle Hacault, Lise McMillan by Leif Norman.