Night at Castle Impendingdoom produced by Wiggly Dolly is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival 2017. Written by Madeleine Redican and Clara McTeague, this KidsFest puppet show is a family must-see.
Elizabeth, Catherine and Slightly get a mysterious invitation to be guests at a Transylvanian home. While Elizabeth is thrilled to be going to an actual castle, and Slightly cluelessly sees the trip as a chance to protect two damsels in distress, Catherine is the voice of reason. She knows that something isn’t right. After all, the home is called Castle Impendingdoom and the host is called Count Sucksyourblood!
That mouthful of a name is the best joke of the production. My young theatre companion mentioned how funny it was — three times actually — when Elizabeth kept mispronouncing it. I had forgotten how silly it is when people muddle up names. The kids just kept cracking up over it.
Joining the three guests and Count Sucksyourblood are two misfits: a sea captain who begins sentences with “Arrgh” as well as a well-intentioned werewolf. Given the number of characters and their different accents, I was sure there were at least three puppeteers squishing each other behind the stage. To my surprise, only two people were pushing this Gothic adventure forward: Madeleine Redican and Georgia Fourie. Kudos to the puppet masters for their multiple voices and comedic timing.
Another element of Night at Castle Impendingdoom that I enjoyed was the sound. From the train station whistling and the roar of thunder to the whooshing of strong winds at the graveyard, the sounds kept the story dynamic. And when Elizabeth faints, the sound effects add comic exaggeration.
Night at Castle Impendingdoom is also amusing because the characters acknowledge that they are part of a puppet show. Whether Fourie is running through the aisle with a puppet over her hand, or Redican says “I’m the best damn character,” it’s like the creators are winking at us. Given the regular interval of giggles, it is clear that we are winking back.
Night at Castle Impendingdoom is a bloody good puppet show — go see it!
- Night at Castle Impendingdoom plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Tickets for Kidsfest shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $12.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
- Don’t miss the Kidsfest club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 5th, 01:00 pm
- Friday July 7th, 12:15 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 03:15 pm
- Monday July 10th, 04:45 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 10:00 am
- Saturday July 15th, 11:45 am
- Sunday July 16th, 04:45 pm
Image provided by the company.