Adventure Theatre Danceband presents “The Fateful Agenda!” is playing at the 2017 Toronto Fringe. After losing his wife, the producer of a rag tag group of traveling dancers struggles to keep the Danceband going on his own. The audience helps him out by choosing the course of the show!
With a simple show description of “A rowdy gem of choose-your-own…” I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew it was going to be an exciting way to end a long day of Fringe reviewing.
What I loved about the show was the diversity of the cast and the skills they brought to the ensemble. They were all fantastic dancers and it showed that they loved what they did. As a group, they seemed very connected, well aware of each other’s space and energy. One standout was “Strongwoman” Liana Lewis. In every number she was in, she grabbed the attention of the audience. You could tell she was a crowd favourite.
This was a show with a very cool concept. I’ve always been obsessed with this vaudevillian, medicine show motif. I think Danceband had the right idea and talent, but for me, it was the storytelling that let me down. Plot points that were put in place at the top of the show were never explored, and the ending didn’t seem to be connected to the rest of the story. I also wasn’t sure if it was set in the past or present, and if it was Gary Lucich’s character’s memories that we were witnessing.
For me, the show needed to be cleaner and tighter. With all the audience interaction, dancing, and letting the audience make decisions, I never felt ease as an audience member. Lucich’s “casual” patter between the dance numbers seemed loose, maybe even improvised. The other performers seemed awkward as they fumbled with the old fashion radio and alcohol bottles. It didn’t feel like the performers had control of the show.
The theatre was also very large. With only an ensemble of five and a two-piece band, the space seemed to swallow the performers’ energies. It was a smaller crowd and I am sure a larger crowd would have amped up the energy, but I think this show is better suited to a more intimate setting.
Technically, there was dead air a few times before the music tracks played for the dance numbers. I am sure through the run that technical lag will be cleaned up. I do believe if you have live music onstage, which they did, you shouldn’t use track music at all.
This is show that will get tighter and better as the run goes on. The performers are really great and they deserve a good audience. Yes, I think it could have used more rehearsal time and stronger story, but something about it still really intrigues me. Take a chance on this show. I’m glad I did.
- Adventure Theatre Danceband presents “THE FATEFUL AGENDA!” 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 Warnings: Sexual Content, Nudity, 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.
- Friday July 7th, 09:15 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 07:30 pm
- Monday July 10th, 02:30 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 10:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 05:15 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 01:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 12:00 pm
Photo provided by company.