I just finished watching the show Born with a Tale by Helder Brum Productions at the Robert Gill Theatre for the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. Born with a Tale is a storytelling experience, directed by Phil Luzi and hosted by comedian Helder Brum. Brum takes his audience through a series of personal tales, which I don’t want to spoil for you, because these stories need to be heard in person.
Helder Brum is familiar with the genre of storytelling, being a comedian, writer, producer, and a host of the storytelling series “Fireside Tales”, which takes place monthly at Dufferin Grove Park. I sensed Brum’s natural affinity for captivating an audience with a story the moment he walked on stage. His ease made me feel like I was a bar, and my friend that had a few too many pints decided to stand on the table and tell an unforgettable anecdote.
The stage of the Robert Gill Theatre was lit by dozens of battery-powered candles, lending to the story-telling mood without causing a fire hazard. In the middle of the stage was a small projector screen, as if Brum was about to brief a business meeting with a PowerPoint presentation. The screen actually added a lot of heart to the show. The Claymation, the photographs, and one very special video clip, really made his stories shine. It also helped that physical evidence proved that the tales aren’t as exaggerated as you’d assume.
Each story was introduced by a Claymation video of the story’s title, accompanied by music created by Will Whitham. The titles were clues to the content, but I promise you, you will not be able to guess their true meaning. As a side note, the show’s poster and program designed by Kurt Firla has lots of winks and nods to Brum’s stories. After watching the show, you can appreciate all of the ‘Easter eggs’ Firla planted.
The stories were ridiculously funny. During one tale, and I can only tell you it was called “Bad Form”, I laughed so hard I cried. After returning home, I described that particular story to my boyfriend and immediately cracked-up all over again. My inability to breathe ruined the delivery, but I think it’s a testament to the story’s impact.
Brum’s whimsical childhood stories, embarrassing moments, and unexpected triumphs were wonderful to hear. Born with a Tale is a simple idea that is perfectly executed with charm, humour, and a little projector. What a way to start Fringe! I would highly recommend seeing this.
- Born With a Tale plays at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College St)
- 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.
- Wednesday June 29th, 07:00 pm
- Saturday July 2nd, 12:00 pm
- Monday July 4th, 04:45 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 09:45 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 05:45 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 07:00 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 01:00 pm
Photo credit: Photo provided by Kurt Firla (Photo: Helder Brum)