Eep and Coo and the Island that Flew is a FringeKids! show from Montreal-based Jot and Tittle Theatre. Part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, this heart-warming story about friendship between two foreign birds comes alive through narration, puppetry and song.
Created and performed by Gabriela Petrov, Alexandra Montagnese and Ruthie Pytka-Jones, Eep and Coo and the Island that Flew looks unassuming and potentially boring from the program. Don’t let that stop you. In fact, the trio over-delivers.
Eep is a local bird whose flock resides on the island of Potentia. Coo is the foreign bird whose flock has crash-landed on Eep’s home turf due to climate change. Of course, each bird clan has ruffled the other one’s feathers (“What if the island sinks because there too many birds?” “You can’t trust birds you can’t understand.”) No one is being greeted with open wings.
Throughout delightful shadow puppetry we see Eep and Coo rising above their flocks’ intolerance and becoming friends. We watch their dark silhouettes sing in unison; it no longer matters that they are birds of a different feather. This is the strongest moment in the play, since the harmony of the actors’ beautiful voices parallel the harmony of Eep and Coo’s friendship. It was this scene with the house lights off that my young friend also liked the most.
The smallest members of our audience also seemed to enjoy the narration. Our narrator sought help from us a few times, in order to finish her lines, and the audience seemed eager enough to yell out answers. And we became the story-tellers ourselves, when we gave permission to the narrator to have the island fly up into the sky instead of fall into the ocean.
With a simple set made of fabric on a wooden frame, simple puppets made of cardboard, and simple costumes (black bodysuits and an outdoorsy get-up for the narrator), Petrov, Montagnese and Pytka -Jones show off their creative imaginations, storytelling body-language, and their desire to tell a story that little and big people can all learn from. From my personal point of view, they explore themes of immigration and tolerance while sneaking in some climate change issues. I recommend it.
- Eep and Coo and the Island that Flew is playing until July 11 at the George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place).
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door and $5 for young people. 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 peformance. 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.
July 07 at 01:30 PM
July 08 at 06:45 PM
July 10 at 01:30 PM
July 11 at 06:45 PM