Ninety (Naked Goddess Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of William Macdonald and Nicole Fairbairn

Isabel (Nicole Fairbairn) has exactly ninety minutes to convince her ex-husband William (William Macdonald) not to remarry in the Toronto Fringe premiere of Joanna Murray Smith’s Ninety (Naked Goddess Productions).

If you can suspend reality long enough to quit thinking who actually speaks like this, Murray Smith has written a beautiful and truthful (if loquacious) script played by two robust and tireless actors. Though it took me a while to warm up, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend it at this year’s festival.

The initial scene is awkward, as I’m sure director Mercy Cherian intended. Both characters appear breathless and unlikable – William, hedonistic and self-absorbed, Isabel, self-conscious and imbalanced.

But as the characters’ shared history reveals itself, true natures are brought to light and the dialogue’s verbosity becomes easier to digest.

The story is a heart wrenching illustration of how tragedy can beat love senseless. Isabel’s initial pleas call to mind any number of break ups in which one party loses all sense of dignity. But without spoiling the plot, these two share in a mutual experience that warrants ninety minutes of William’s time.

Only in a play such as this do we come close to understanding the power of saying all there is to say.

Murray Smith has written characters that get to live all of the perfect conversations we play out in our minds before our mouths get the better of us.


  • Ninety is playing until July 11 at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.

Show times and dates:
July 03 at 01:45 PM
July 06 at 10:30 PM
July 07 at 09:45 PM
July 08 at 03:45 PM
July 09 at 07:30 PM
July 11 at 12:00 PM

Photo of William MacDonald and Nicole Fairbairn by Dahlia Katz.