Evolution / Mr. Truth is a dance-theatre double bill, currently playing at the Randolph Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. The first half-hour’s show, the dance show Evolution, choreographed by Angela Blumberg, is a fluid exploration of change through dance. The second half-hour show, the Lester Trips group’s Mr. Truth, makes use of dark comedy to explore the ugly and uncomfortable elements in modern sexuality.
Evolution is a work that is a product of extensive collaboration, with Blumberg’s choreography being paired with haunting music composed by Domenic Jarlkaganova, and being implemented by dancers Jillian Peever and Irvin Chow. All these people came together to explore this work’s theme of exploring the transitions of being from one state to another, the climb up the ladder of biological evolution.
This show is a success. Blumberg’s choreography does a superb job of illustrating the idea of evolution, of transitioning from one kind of being to another. This choreography was implemented successfully by the show’s dancers, both of whom demonstrated an amazing mastery of their bodies in the motion of the dance. All of this was set against Jarlkaganova’s evocative and atmospheric music. Evolution achieves its goals, and leaves its viewers satisfied.
Mr. Truth is a rather different kind of theatrical experience. The show’s creators and performers, Lauren Gillis and Alaine Hutton, engage with the dark side of love and sexuality, those factors which are the motors of evolutionary change. We see them deal work with buzzword-laden sexual techniques and different sorts of potentially embarrassing fetishes and the eternal class of mistakes each person will make in the pursuit of the person they want. These things are dangerous, and Lester Trips intends to show them to us.
Gillis and Hutton are amazing performers. With the aid of only some very quick backstage costume changes, they build and inhabit one original character and scenario after another. Just a gesture can be enough to trigger laughter in their audience, or better yet recognition of something universal in our desire to get what we want. My only issue with their performance is that there was sometimes a thematic dissonance between Mr. Truth‘s lighter and darker sketches that can leave the audience confused as to how to react.
The Evolution / Mr. Truth double bill is an hour of challenging and contrasting theatre, bringing modern dance together with sketch comedy. It is an hour well-spent.
- Evolution / Mr. Truth is playing until July 7 at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst Street)
- 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 advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Gunshots, Mature Language.
- This venue is not wheelchair-accessible.
- June 30th at 7:00 pm
- July 1st at 11:00 pm
- July 3rd at 1:15 pm
- July 5th at 5:00 pm
- July 6th at 9:15 pm
- July 7th at 12:00 pm
- July 10th at 3:30 pm
Photo of Angela Blumberg by Sue Howard.