The Creation Coffin‘s production of HEXEN at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival is everything it promises to be and more. Indeed, if you like blood, witches, socialism and classic rock — or even if you don’t — it’s worth a watch. The show’s combination of soft percussion, smokey-voiced singing, and fierce physicality are sure to lure you into a dream-like trance. This is a play that is fraught with ritual and executed with ease and grace.
HEXEN is about a witch coven. Each individual seems to be an expressive extension of the same, unknowable force — a force and way of knowing that apparently resides deep within all of us. Each witch has their own distinct yet subtle gestures, all while keeping with the flow of the movements of the coven. Their spoken lines don’t seem to offer any specificity of character, but this further adds to the effect that this is all a manifestation of a kind of collective unconscious.
I would say a highlight of this show is the musicality. The a capella rendition of familiar songs is haunting, and the soft beat of a drum flitting in so seamlessly with the rhythm of the show is really striking in its subtlety. You almost don’t notice it.
The physical strength of the female actors, the precision and power of their movements is impressive. Their beast-like embodiment and continually shifting forms make for an original mythological telling of a story you’ll want to be a part of.
The intimate venue, which is the enclosed back patio of a café, indeed makes it feel like you are as much a part of the performance as the actors. As witches, they address the audience directly, but as they shift into other roles, you have the sense that you are on the outside looking in on a thwarted dreamscape of an all-too-familiar history.
The sole light hanging from above in the confined space makes it so you can see the shadows flitting across the faces of those sitting across from you, but you’ll be too caught up in the action of the show to notice.
If you’re looking to attend a visually stimulating and atmospheric piece, this would be it. Bring a friend and be prepared to see something unique that manages to feel familiar all the same.
- HEXEN plays at Our Spot. (180 Baldwin St.)
- 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, Realistic Violence or Gore, Smoking, Mature Language.
- The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be accessible.
- Wednesday July 5th, 09:00 pm
- Thursday July 6th, 09:00 pm
- Friday July 7th, 09:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 09:00 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 09:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 09:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 09:00 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 09:00 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 09:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 09:00 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 09:00 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 09:00 pm
Photo of Kaitie Allinger, Kaia Richardson, Taylor Shouldice, Marley Kajan by Evelyn Long.