Despite what the cover photo may lead you to believe, MEANT is a comedy musical that follows two new parents as they find out that the Fates have made a huge mistake in planning their lives. MEANT is produced by Under Pressure Productions and is playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
If I had to pick one word to describe this show, it would be seamless. Everything about this play was smooth, from the quick changes, scene transitions, and the switches from song to speech. I was surprised to find out that much of the creative team are new graduates since everything was so well polished.
I was very impressed with the lighting design for this play. They made excellent work of utilizing lighting as a storytelling element and creating separation between characters who were physically close by. They used the limited space that they had and were able to direct the audience’s attention to exactly where it needed to be with the lights.
The costume design also played an important part in setting the tone of this musical. I was especially impressed with the costumes of the Fates. The styling was obviously not human but still understated enough that they were not distracting as secondary characters.
Every actor in this play was exceptional in his or her role. I was never pulled out of my immersion by a stumbled over line or awkward delivery. Although each actor was phenomenal, it was Kyrah Harder who really stood out in her performance. She was the weakest vocally but her performance of Hannah was very moving regardless. Her character was the most demanding and she consistently out did herself with each line and song.
The songs from the original score were all well placed and helped to move the plot forward. Much like the script, they switched tones easily and it was nice to see a reprise being used in a different context later in the show.
Despite the majority of the script being excellent, there were a few moments very early in the show that felt inorganic to me. Lines such as “I just birthed a child,” felt forced and odd in conversation.
The opening scene also left me feeling confused and it is not properly explained what is happening until much later in the play. But, at that point, you don’t remember what exactly was said so it holds no significance.
Luckily, the script very quickly turns itself around and becomes moving and natural. It really shines later in the play when the conflict reaches a peak. The dialogue plus the actor’s performances feel incredibly natural.
I wish that during these peak moments of conflict the actors would remember to physically open themselves up to the audience because many times they squarely faced each other cutting off the audience from seeing the emotions on their faces.
Overall, I believe that MEANT is a gem in this year’s Fringe Festival and I encourage everyone to take the time to see it.
- MEANT plays at the Factory Studio. (125 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: Fog, Mist or Haze Effects, Mature Language.
- This venue is accessible.
- Thursday July 6th, 07:45 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 05:30 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 10:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 04:30 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 09:30 pm
- Friday July 14th, 12:15 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 03:45 pm
Photo of Morgan St.Onge, Thom Nyhuus and Landon Doell by Robynne Harder