Shadowpath‘s production of Plays in Cafes in the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival is a site-specific immersive piece that is light, smart, and hilarious, with a few heartwarming moments to boot. Come to the Free Times Cafe on College Street for a mood of general good cheer that carries the show through. It’s a well-crafted entertaining experience that will leave you with a few hearty belly laughs to go along with your meal.
Upon first entering the restaurant, you actually don’t know who the actors are, which is part of the fun. As the show progresses, people you took to be part of the audience eventually enter into other scenes- you could be sitting right beside an actor without even knowing it.
Since this show takes place in a restaurant, you do have the option to order food beforehand and eat while watching the show (which could make for a great date night), however there’s no actual audience participation. So if you’re a little shy, don’t worry- there are no risks of being called out to perform. You’re just physically a bit closer to the actors since it’s not a typical stage set-up, and the set is the café itself.
There are three scenes, and each one seems to get slightly more outrageous. Think mismatched tinder dates, a sisters’ reunion, and having strangers awkwardly sample from your meal while you eat.
Alex Karolyi brings uninhibited energy to each scene; she certainly excels at performing characters that are gleefully obnoxious and absolutely unrestrained. Chris Coculuzzi matches her level of belligerence, even surpassing it at times– but you wouldn’t expect any less from a character with socks as high as his. Jolly Amoako and Jessalyn Ferguson have amazingly controlled performances that bring focus and sincerity to the scenes, balancing out the antics of Karolyi and Coculuzzi.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching people make a big old scene in a restaurant, here’s your chance. Or, if you’re someone who has a history of making your family embarrassed in public, you’ll be left with a few tips to carry home. It’s a fun time and I would recommend the experience!
- Plays in Cafes plays at Free Times Caf�. (320 College 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: Audience Participation, Mature Language.
- The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Thursday July 6th, 07:00 pm
- Friday July 7th, 07:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 07:00 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 05:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 06:00 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 07:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 07:00 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 07:00 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 05:00 pm
Photo of Jolly Amoako, Jessalyn Ferguson, Alex Karolyi, Chris Coculuzzi by Deanna Galati