Falling Angel (RealSpace Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Stevie Jay, Erica Wood,and Jamillah Ross by Jon BlackerFalling Angel produced by RealSpace Theatre is a site-specific show performing at Shaw Park, next to the CAMH campus on Queen West, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Written by Erica Wood and Bruce Hunter, the show is described in the Fringe program as “part contemporary vaudevillian comedy with a little existentialist dilemma and a few musical numbers of sorts thrown in.” If that description sounds vague and a bit unfocused, the show matches.

At the top of the show, a wayward angel (Erica Wood) meets a lost soul (Stevie Jay) and together, they work through existential crises while periodically encountering God in the form of a wheelchair-bound vagrant (Jamillah Wood).

Falling Angel is Theology 101. It mines well-worn religious tropes and there’s a lovely message about cherishing both the happiness and sorrow inherent in the human condition. This resonates even if it is a little too on-the-nose in its delivery.

However, I think the show still needs some work. I think the script needs more development. It’s a short show, clocking in at 45 minutes, but even so, I felt that it struggled to fill the time. Though the plot is tied up neatly in the end, I found it lacking some of the depth it sought to plumb and there was no real “a-ha” moment for me that made the meandering philosophical exercise worthwhile in the end.

The cast members make the most of a script that doesn’t give them a lot of room to stretch. I thought Second City alumnae Jamillah Ross was particularly under-used in her role as God. Ultimately, I would’ve found the show more satisfying if more time were spent on character development, and if the show dug deeper in exploring the philosophical concepts it just barely skims the surface of now.

I also thought the pacing of the show could use some tightening as the rhythm of the performance felt a bit off; something I suspect may improve after a few performances.

The best thing going for the show is the setting. The audience is seated on benches or picnic blankets strewn about a lawn in the park. On the gorgeous summer evening I attended it was lovely, if you go on a day with inclement weather your mileage may vary.

Details

  • Falling Angel plays at Shaw Park (CAMH). (1001 Queen St. W.)
  • 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 Scadding Court, 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 Warnings: Sexual Content, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
  • The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible. Note that this production plays outdoors, and audience members may not be provided with seating.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 5th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 6th, 06:30 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 06:30 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 06:30 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 06:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 06:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 06:30 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 06:30 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 06:30 pm

Photo of Stevie Jay, Erica Wood & Jamillah Ross by Jon Blacker

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