True North Mixtape, produced by Edge of Sky Theatre, is performing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. This is the newest show from the production company behind monster Fringe hits like Summerland and The Fence. At this point we pretty much know what to expect from them; fantastic musical performances, polished group dance numbers and an impossibly large cast of fresh-faced young performers. Once again, the team delivers, big time.
This time, the team has chosen to present a program of Canadian music, including a few of their own original compositions. It’s an eclectic set list. No, there’s no Drake or The Weeknd on this mix tape. Instead, the program features music by Arcade Fire, The Guess Who, Stan Rogers, and selections from the musical Anne and Gilbert.
The cast of fifty performers includes two-time National Showchoir champions The Wexford Gleeks and an ensemble from the Teen Fringe, the Toronto Fringe’s program for teens. It absolutely thrills me to see a show that features diverse artists of different ages, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. I love the fact that this cast reflects my Toronto and my Canada.
The result is a big, bold, beautiful and uplifting show that’s an exciting showcase for these young performers. The highlights for me are the big group numbers. The cast delivers these with such infectious energy that it’s impossible to not get taken in. I sat there with a big, stupid grin on my face throughout production numbers like Spadina Bus by the Shuffle Demons and Phoenix Rising from Summerland; numbers where we see the huge cast filling the stage and even literally dancing in the aisles of the theatre while beaming with energy.
The choice to incorporate comedic sketches (written by Matt Bernard and Jeremy Lapalme) is an interesting one. The sketches are clever enough, though some of them drag on a couple beats too long but ultimately, I think I would have preferred that time to be filled with more musical numbers which are really this company’s strength.
All told, this is going to be one of those crowd-pleasing shows that I’ll be telling my friends and co-workers about. Bold, beautiful, diverse, and brimming with optimism, True North Mixtape presents the vision of the Canada I want to see.
- True North Mixtape plays at the Randolph 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 Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 20 minutes before showtime.
- Thursday July 6th, 10:30 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 03:30 pm
- Monday July 10th, 06:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 02:45 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 10:30 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 05:45 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 07:00 pm
Photo of the Wexford Gleeks by Walter Korynkiewicz