little fires (Polynomials and Blue Ceiling Dance) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review


Photo of Jen Hum

What do instinct and line ups have in common? little fires by Polynomials and Blue Ceiling Dance, playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, is an incredible, touching, and hilarious examination of people as animals and women as people.

Oh my god, are these dances amazing.

Let me start at the beginning. little fires consists of two separate shows that are thematically connected if not entirely similar.

Lucy Rupert’s piece The animals are planning an intervention has a running undercurrent of instinct and animals that informs her movement.

I swear to you it was like watching liquid onstage; her every move flowed into the next. Rupert manages to effortlessly evoke animals with sudden glances over her shoulder, the desperation to scratch an itch, scurrying across the floor on her haunches, while simultaneously keeping her humanity front and centre. It was a fine balance to watch unfold.

All of it was set to the most beautiful music. I could not look away. I was just absolutely stunned. The time flew by and I did not want it to end. I could’ve watched Rupert all night.

So yes, adjusting to the second act, A Pocketful of Matches choreographed by Karissa Fyrrar  and performed by Robyn Breen (who is filling in for Jen Hum for one night), Marlowe Porter, Sarah Reid, and Lauren Runions was really hard. Where Rupert was straight dance, Breen, Porter, Reid, and Runions (with Hum) have created a piece that is slow to hit home but brilliant when it finally does.

This is a show about inner lives, how we imagine or envision the world around us and our inability to see what others see, contextualized by a group of women standing in line.

There was something distinctive in what the dance chose to showcase, calling on experiences with beauty standards, technology, and social awkwardness in the real world.

And it has a lot of fun doing it.

In fact, both A Pocketful of Matches and The animals are planning an intervention are funny pieces. Rupert smiles, sings, and laughs, giving the audience the freedom to relate to the more instinctual actions she performs. A Pocketful of Matches lets the dancers have fun with poses, plays with the every day and even gives a free form dance with giant googly-eyes.

I absolutely loved little fires. If you like dance, if you don’t like dance, if you just want to see someone dancing with giant googly-eyes, this is something you must see.


  • little fires plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst St)
  • Tickets are $12 and in advance and 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. 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 by use of an alternate route. Please arrive early and speak with the House Manager.


  • Friday July 1st, 09:15 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 08:15 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 05:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 09:15 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 01:45 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 11:30 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 02:15 pm

Photo of Jen Hum courtesy Blue Ceiling Dance and Polynomials