This show has so much going for it: a great cast, amazing music, humour, and a fascinating story. To me it needs just a bit of attention to detail to really bring it home.
I love a good love story, and this one has a few twists: Death, the Devil, God, soul-catching beings, and a young woman who defiantly transcends her newfound form — and relinquishes her yearning for revenge — for true love.
It starts off with a fairly dark premise — a young woman is violently killed, makes a deal with the devil to cheat death, but then finds herself deceived and unable to go back to her old life. Seemingly bound to a life doing the Devil’s bidding, the story takes a brighter turn when she finds love — despite learning some shocking secrets about her intended (which I won’t give away here).
A live orchestra — even a tiny one — always adds an extra layer of pleasure for me, and this show had a great one. They set varying tones for the scenes: exuberant carnival vibes, mysterious sounds fit for a Devil’s dealings, love songs, and more.
The cast was enjoyable and diverse, and I am very disappointed that there were no programmes (nor can I find a cast list anywhere online). The real standouts to me were the Devil, who was fabulously creepy and funny; Danny, Dario’s grandfather, who bickered hilariously with his wife; and the Narrator, who delivered prose with nuanced emotion and set the scenes perfectly.
I loved almost everything about this show, but there was one major problem with it (the aforementioned lack of detail): at least half of the musical numbers were inaudible. There were times when I didn’t even realize the leads were singing until I saw their mouths moving. The female lead, who played Lily / Lilith / La Diablesse, had a few moments where her incredible vocals shone through. But mostly, I couldn’t hear her during the musical numbers.
Perhaps this was a last-minute technical problem, but it’s hard to imagine no one noticed the orchestra completely drowning out the vocals. I’d say that, minus that one issue, Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical is unique, funny, lighthearted, full of wonderful themes and music and poetry, and well worth seeing.
I would LOVE to see it again after a batch of microphones have been dispensed to the entire cast.
- Dario et la Diablesse: A Caribbean Musical plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina 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. Use the elevator at the Spadina entrance.
- Thursday June 30th, 08:15 pm
- Saturday July 2nd, 10:30 pm
- Monday July 4th, 02:45 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 01:15 pm
- Friday July 8th, 05:45 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 12:00 pm
Promotional image of Dario et la Diablesse provided by the company