Becoming Me (Something In The Six Theatre Company) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Blake Canning, Kevin Doe, Charlin McIsaac, Ted Powers, Alexandra Reed, Jessica Watters

Becoming Me, produced by Something In The Six Theatre Company, is a touching original musical about the struggles of depression as seen through the eyes of Andrew, a high-strung twenty-something who moves out of his abusive father’s house in search of independence, only to get diagnosed with a mental illness soon after.

When I arrived at the venue, there was a line around the block. Was there something I didn’t know about Becoming Me? I was excited to see what all the buzz was about.

First off, the cast was absolutely charming. Standouts included Kevin Doe who brought solid vocals as well as humour at just the right moments — he might be my new musical theatre crush by the way, just sayin’…I’ll also mention Alexandra Reed who shone as Andrew’s therapist and that voice…angelic.

Although the performances were generally strong, the content itself didn’t quite cut it for me. Let me explain.

I know first hand how hard it is to write an original musical and anyone who’s got the balls to do it is forever a hero in my books. I gotta say though, the lyrics were…clunky and seemed to only be there for the sake of making a rhyme. The words between the lyrics however, were brilliant.

There was one scene in particular that really “hit it” for me. It was a fight between Andrew and his father (played by Ted Powers) and was easily the best moment in the show. I looked around at the other patrons and everyone was on the edge of their seats, myself included. The only issue is that the overly simplistic lyrics didn’t match the conversational flow of the story itself which made for a hot/cold experience throughout.

The story made sense near the end, but it got off to a rocky start. I wasn’t sure where we were and what everyone’s relationship was to each other (are they roommates? siblings? who are these people?) More exposition is needed to really make it clear to the audience who’s who and what’s what, especially since the set was so minimal.

By the second half of the show I started putting all the pieces together and could zone in on Andrew, the guy we should be caring about the most. It all came together in the end and a satisfying finale was delivered.

Although it wasn’t perfect, there were moments in the show that I will remember for a long time. As someone who has struggled with depression, Becoming Me really hit home. Seeing Andrew’s ups and downs reminded me of my own tribulations in the fight against my own mind and I could tell other people in the audience were connecting on a similar level. If you’ve experienced mental illness, you will definitely be able to see a piece of yourself in Becoming Me. Check it out at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival while you can!

  • Becoming Me 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, mature language.
  • This venue is accessible.

Performances:

  • Thursday July 6th, 08:15 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 01:45 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 09:45 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 11:00 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 03:30pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 05:15pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 01:45 pm

Photo of Blake Canning, Kevin Doe, Charlin McIsaac, Ted Powers, Alexandra Reed, Jessica Watters by Ayesha Taylor.

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