I’ve seen shows similar in style to that of NASTY, Maelstrom Art Collective‘s contribution to this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s not really a play in the standard sort but more a narrative told through movement and spoken word. Not plot driven but point driven and often a student/recent grad manned production. Out of the similar productions I’ve seen, NASTY stands as one of the better ones.
I was particularly drawn to NASTY for the subject matter, it’s something that speaks to me on a deep level. The “nasty” women in history, the women — be them actual humans or goddess archetypes — that have left their mark on history for truly atrocious acts. What makes them “nasty”, why did they do what they did? And though this production isn’t here to give us a solid answer to the ‘why’, the cast delivers a performance that speaks to their strength and ruthless tenacity.
There are certain historical figures that I’ve read about and I was highly intrigued to see how they would be portrayed here. Shai Tannyan took on Elizabeth Bathory, Maighdlin Mahoney portrayed Irma Grese, and Jordi O’Dael played Alice Kyteler to name a few. A similar thread binds the portrayals of such vile characters — defiant and steadfast until the end.
I was particularly drawn to Nikolas Nikita’s portrayal of Medusa. Their intense acrobatic portrayal of the serpent-headed Gorgon was a perfect fit for the role, incredibly mercurial and serpentine. I was also thoroughly impressed by Nickeshia Garrick as Oshún, she has a very magnetic personality on stage that is impossible to ignore. Heath V. Salazar also shone as Hades. It does intrigue me that they chose to use Hades as a character and not Persephone.
Hats off as well to Rosanna Saracino who took on directing and choreographing the piece. Considering the number of people taking up space on a rather small stage, making full use of the staircases flanking the stage, plus the aisles in the audience, putting all of this together was certainly a feat and the end product is visually stunning.
NASTY is a performance piece that is incredibly well put together, structured and presented. It’s eye-opening and intense, something you’ll want to see during your Fringe adventure this year.
- NASTY plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst 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: Unsuitable for Minors, Sexual Content, Realistic Violence or Gore, Smoking, Nudity, Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route which requires a staff escort. Check in at the box office at least 20 minutes prior to showtime.
- Wednesday July 5th, 10:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 02:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 05:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 04:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 09:15 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 12:00 pm
Photo of Heath V. Salazar provided by the company