I chose the best way to kick off this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival — with a cold beer at the air conditioned ROUND venue for a rock show. Well, kind of. Binge is the story of two band mates wrapped up in the drunken downfall of rock and roll resulting in one helluva ride.
Luke Pieroni and Joel Edmiston play Drums and Strings who are still reeling from the recent death of their band mate Leads. In their beer-fueled mourning, prompted by a six-day drinking binge envisioned by Leads before he died, Drums and Strings comes to turns with their own lives and grow closer as friends.
One of the things I love the most about the Fringe Festival are all the site specific performances out there that add further depth to the show. This one is no different and the ROUND happens to be one of my favourite bars in the city. I appreciated the full use of the space from the stage, to the bar and right into the audience.
This hour-long performance is very, well, drunk — as you can expect from a six-day bender. The dialogue is scattered and frenetic and so is the energy. The audience advisory for mature language is an under statement — every other word seems to be ‘fuck’ or a reference to a profane bodily function.
In a way, it makes the show endearing, assuming you’re not bothered by that kind of humor. These are the kind of guys who don’t have much going for them outside the band, so you’re rooting for them to find some kind of solace at the end of their journey.
Both Pieroni and Edmiston give enjoyable performances full of well-timed humour and physical action. Their chemistry, friendship and sense of loss for their dearly departed lead singer felt genuine and heartfelt. I also enjoyed their musical interludes, great musicians here.
Some of the sound cues in the beginning — crucial to establishing the scene change and new location — were off-paced but got ironed out pretty quickly.
This is a rowdy and highly energetic show that is a lot of fun to watch and hats off to Pierioni, Edmiston, and the ROUND for offering quite a few shows throughout Fringe (with a few double performance evenings). Binge is a great addition to your Fringe adventure this year — that is if a beer-fueled bar night is what you call fun.
- Binge plays at The Round. (152 Augusta 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.
- Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Mature Language, Alcohol and Drug Use.
- Thursday June 30th, 07:30 pm
- Friday July 1st, 07:30 pm and 10:00 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 07:30 pm
- Monday July 4th, 07:30 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 07:30 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 07:30 pm and 10:00 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 07:30 pm and 10:00 pm
Photo of Luke Pieroni and Joel Edmiston by Andrew Pieroni.