Heartbeat and Other Ways to Say I Love You ranks as one of this year’s finer Toronto Fringe Festival offerings. Equal parts comedy, myth, and commentary on a hyper-connected, heavily commercial way of life, the play highlights the exceptional acting and writing talents of Tanya Elchuk and Natalie Semotiuk.
Heartbeat follows the quarter-life crisis of pill-popping Pierogi Queen CEO Alex (played by Semotiuk). From humble beginnings hawking pierogi’s based on her Baba’s recipe, Alex built a frozen foods empire that stands on the brink of an initial public offering and mass profits as the play opens. But success takes its toll in the form of a nervous breakdown, and it’s not long before Elchuk saunters out of the audience and onstage as the Baba Yaga (of Slavic folklore) to set things right.
This interweaving of the mythic and the modern day is what sets Heartbeat apart. The action will often pause at a critical moment, the lights will dim, and Baba Yaga will stop peeling potatoes and suddenly reveal the mysterious, sometimes sinister workings of her mind to the audience.
Elchuk and Semotiuk co-wrote the play, and their passion for the characters they’ve created (or borrowed, in the case of Baba Yaga) shows in scene after scene. While play touches on difficult topics that anyone with a career or a family will easily relate to, it never loses its heartfelt and humorous spirit.
- Heartbeat and Other Ways to Say I Love You is playing until July 11 at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst Street)
- 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.
- This performance is not accessible for non-English speakers.
July 07 at 08:30 PM
July 09 at 03:30 PM
July 10 at 11:30 PM
July 11 at 04:00 PM