A Bitter Shrew (The Theatre Elusive) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Gillian English

Lucking into seeing The Theatre Elusive’s A Bitter Shrew at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room during The 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival apparently made some of my fellow reviewers a tad bit jealous!

After seeing the hilariously honest, touching, and slightly risqué one-woman patriarchy-smashing show, I can understand why. The good news: you still have time to catch it!

I’ll admit upfront that I am totally biased because I totally identify with English’s unabashed sexuality, confidence, and shameless mocking of jerks in online dating sites. Like her, I’ve also spent countless hours – maybe even months – of my life in the murky world of online dating. Like her, I also blog about my experiences, and am very open and honest about the many triumphs, heartaches, and disasters I’ve encountered along the way.

I’m also a scrappy East Coaster with Scottish heritage, a talent for epic farting, and huge boobs – the latter of which men love to point out. Often. If you don’t have giant boobs you may not have had the same experiences, but you can still enjoy the stories.

If you’re someone who’s familiar with the online dating world, you’ll most likely find a kindred spirit – who does a MEAN Australian accent – in A Bitter Shrew. If you’re not familiar with that world – feel free to count yourself lucky here – her harrowing tales of “pizza sex”, “thumbing”, and fart alarm clocks may just teach you something.

English has a lovely stage presence and I found her to be a wonderful storyteller. The one negative might be the screen displaying the slides – it seemed rather makeshift and it was difficult (impossible) to read and see what was on it. It’s a small point, and she did a great job of filling in the blanks.

Mostly I spent 45 minutes laughing, nodding in agreement, and enjoying wonderful stories about love, fuckery, the complications of gender roles, sketchy reproductive issues, farts, dirty Fringe sex, and about how none of the above – or being single despite wanting a mate – makes a woman a “bitter shrew”.

If you’re a woman who’s ever been called a similar name, a man who wants to learn some shit (or has ever sent an unsolicited dick pic), or someone of any gender who just wants to hear some wonderful storytelling, don’t miss A Bitter Shrew.


  • A Bitter Shrew plays at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through an alternate route. Please arrive early and speak with the House Manager.


  • June 29 at 8:15pm
  • July 1 at 10:00pm
  • July 2 at 6:45pm
  • July 3 at 2:45pm
  • July 4 at 9:15pm
  • July 6 at 4:45pm
  • July 7 at 6:15pm
  • July 10 at 2:15pm

Photo of Gillian English provided by the company

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