Contagious is an ode to having “real” conversations and following your heart. What’s more, the story is lifted by great choreography and meaningful music.
It begins with a bang as the two main characters start off with dance solos. My interpretation is that with few or no words, Adam (Valentyn Korotkevych) displays a need for expression while Beth (Jada Rifkin) shows work-related frustration as she clutches her briefcase. The choreography is evocative.
The story: Adam is a young immigrant teenager who is studying computer science to satisfy his mother’s need for him to succeed. Beth is a bank teller who puts on a fake smile every single day. Adam and Beth meet, talk frankly, tell each other to listen to themselves, and they do some beautiful dancing together as well.
Contagious has many light, amusing moments that contrast with the heavier what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moments. My favourite funny scene is the exam time, or what the teacher (Daniel Coo) calls “pay-back” time. The teacher addresses us audience members as his students and says that during these two hours, “your bladder does not matter.” His ridicule of us students is entertaining.
I loved the finely-crafted and perfectly executed ending in which both Adam and Beth simultaneously say goodbye to what is wrong with their lives, using some of the same words. I also appreciated the energy of their dance moves and the choice of music.
Contagious is thoughtful, well put together and definitely worth seeing.
- Contagious plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (16 Ryerson Ave.)
- 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.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the very front row.
- Friday July 7th, 05:45 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 08:45 pm
- Monday July 10th, 01:00 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 07:30 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 10:30 pm
- Friday July 14th, 03:30 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 04:30 pm
Photo of Valentyn Korotkevych by Mark William Matechuk