In a world where love is a crime, the two intrepid women of Alpha Delta 86 — a covert espionage unit — use every tool at their disposal to root out illicit feelings and ensure everyone keeps their hands to themselves.
The trouble is, they’d rather just eat cookies.
This low-key clown show won’t appeal to everyone, but it sort of snuck up behind me, appealing more and more as it went on, and by the end I was smiling. If you’re open to something quieter, and you’re a fan of physical and imaginative storytelling, this is a neat little hour.
Co-creators and performers Kiva Murphy and Filipa Mendes show a craftsmanship of a type we rarely get to see, as though they had been touring together for years, when in fact they’re a new company.
The experience of watching this show put me in mind of watching two charismatic adults entertaining an invisible child, inventing games and making fools of themselves to get a reaction. The story meanders and wavers, and it’s often apparent that the audience doesn’t fully understand what’s happening — you’re not supposed to admit that you’re in love! love is illegal! that’s the whole plot! — but this is such a charming and playful piece that, like that invisible child, even if you don’t fully understand what’s going on, you’ll laugh, smile, and go along with it all the same.
The most telling thing I can say about this show is that it’s delivered almost entirely in whispers: there are, of course, ringing bells and singalongs and shouts and giggles and exclamations, but almost all of the actual dialogue is barely voiced, practically kissed into the air.
And that’s not a problem. When I saw it, the women of Alpha Delta 86 has the audience paying such rapt attention — not even a peep — that I heard, and held onto, every single syllable. Remember what I said about craftsmanship?
Three warnings before I let you go:
- This show has a number of surprisingly raunchy moments, although nothing which rises above the level of a drag show.
- You might get pulled up on stage for the audience participation bits. If you’re adverse to that, aim to sit in the far corners.
- The intimacy of the Annex Theatre does this show huge favours, but the deep thrust stage is a liability: if you end up seated behind the action, you’ll be missing out.
- Alpha Delta 86 plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St)
- All tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased 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.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Audience Participation.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible provided you arrive early (at least ~20 minutes) and notify the House Manager you require an accessible route.
- Saturday July 2nd, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 09:45 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 08:00 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 03:30 pm
- Friday July 8th, 11:30 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 01:45 pm
Photograph of (L->R) Kiva Murphy and Filipa Mendes by Alex Brenner.