Behind Closed Doors (Red Pants Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

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Behind Closed Doors presented by Red Pants Productions as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival is a very well intentioned but perhaps over ambitious piece by Adam Bryan.

The plot follows a young woman, Baby, named in homage to that famous film, Dirty Dancing, who is pursuing a career as a dancer and is living with her boyfriend, Alex. However, it soon becomes clear that he is unsupportive and resents her following her dreams and her reluctance to enter a fully sexual relationship with him.

She attends dance class with her eccentric teacher, who appears in various outrageous costumes to illustrate this, and her classmates, Kyle and Maddy who appear to support and love her. Things go from bad to worse with Alex and we see him getting more and more frustrated with her, and eventually he betrays her.

Baby tries to appease him but the relationship breaks down. She tries to confide in her friends but cannot bring herself to reveal the secret that is really going on behind closed doors. Without revealing too much, we see her trapped in a negative spiral of domestic violence, which is acted out in song and dance.

As I say, the show really has very good intentions but the subject matter is so complex that it would take a very skillful and experienced writer and cast to combine such material with the genre of a musical.

The songs were not as memorable as they should have been, although Baby’s (Kelsi Hopkins) rendition of “Recover” did get a nice applause break. Max Falleta-Ehler did a good job on keyboards and backing vocals and was a nice presence on stage as an anchor for the music, however sometimes the piano seemed too loud for the singers to be heard clearly.

It was obvious to the audience that a whole lot of heart and soul had been put into staging this first musical for this young company. I would love them to develop it into a play that could tour schools to educate young people on the issues raised and develop the characters more deeply.

That being said, I thoroughly applaud Red Pants Productions and all their supporters for showing us what can happen Behind Closed Doors.

Details

Behind Closed Doors plays at the Tarragon Mainspace. (30 Bridgman ave. Near Bathurst and Dupont)

show times
July 04 at 07:00 PM
July 05 at 11:00 PM
July 07 at 02:45 PM
July 08 at 08:45 PM
July 10 at 02:15 PM
July 12 at 09:45 PM
July 13 at 12:00 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 Gigi Inara, Eliott Shams, Megan Janssen and Michael Johnson provided by Kelsi Hopkins.