Things Drugs Taught Me is a collection of monologues produced by Four Face Production at the Toronto Fringe Festival. It follows Nisha Coleman and Jeff Gandell’s experiences with various drugs ranging from amphetamines to marijuana.
This show is a lot of fun, but I hesitate to call it hilarious like many other reviews. There are definitely parts that will make you laugh, but because these are true stories they are not presented with the sole purpose of being funny. These true stories do not always lend themselves to comedy. Sometimes they also open themselves up to realistic conclusions, which is a nice change from clean-cut life-lesson endings that are now so common.
The bare stage mixed in with several small props to signify different characters lent itself well to the quick scene changes. That said, most of the time the transition music (the music played between scenes) felt out of place and ruined the seamless feel that the bare set provided.
Both Coleman and Gandell are excellent storytellers, and both were able to capture the audience’s attention and hold it the entire time. Because the playwrights were also the actors, they were able to connect to the script in a sincere way that was charming to see. I believe that Gandell is the stronger actor of the two, but there were several times throughout the show that he stumbled over his words. I will just chalk that up to it being the first performance though.
One thing (that is no fault anyone connected to the Things Drugs Taught Me creative team, but is still worth noting) is the occasional banging and vibrating coming from the show upstairs. It was not constant but the sounds of people jumping and moving around could be heard multiple times throughout the play and it was very distracting. Both actors were very professional and adjusted their volume accordingly, so no dialogue was missed.
Overall, Things Drugs Taught Me is an entertaining show that is well worth the $12 ticket price. It is very refreshing to see true storytellers given the stage at Fringe.
- Things Drugs Taught Me plays at The Theatre Centre’s BMO Incubator. (1115 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 Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is accessible.
- Wednesday July 5th, 08:15 pm
- Friday July 7th, 10:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 05:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 04:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 05:00 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 02:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 01:00 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 02:15 pm
Photo of Nisha Coleman and Jeff Gandell by Saima Ahmed.