I love a good murder mystery. It’s for that reason that I was excited to see Odd One Out by Human Wick Effect, on stage at the Tarragon Extraspace as part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. I mean, just reading the descriptor had me sold: 1950’s, love triangle, secret attraction, a college student wanders into the woods and disappears. Is she dead? Is she alive? What happened to Clementine Yates?
Matilda (Mat) (played by Mattie Driscoll) is a nervous but eager journalism student from a small town, off to college and on her own. She meets Clementine (Clem) (Krystina Bojanowski), her new roommate who’s also the editor of the campus paper. Later, Matilda is introduced to Jerry (Jesse Byiers), Clem’s boyfriend, who Clem isn’t all that excited by anymore. The more time that Mat and Clem spend together, the more their mutual attraction grows until severe tension builds between Mat and Jerry. And then Clem wanders into the woods and never returns.
This trio possesses some serious acting chops here, with stellar performances all around. I was particularly blown away by Bojanowski, whose directness and sarcasm is knife-point sharp. She radiates passion, be it passion for writing and the encouraging of Mat’s writing, or passion for Mat herself.
Complementing that is Driscoll’s youthful eagerness, her delight in discovering new love that she never thought existed within her until that moment. The chemistry between Mat and Clem is simply electrifying — and seriously hot, ooff — matched by the seething animosity between her and Jerry.
I also loved the simplicity of the set (three screens and a box are moved around to establish each new scene), the great ’50s style costuming by Claire McMillan, and the amazing soundtrack prepared by sound designer Micah Champagne.
Director Elizabeth Traicus does great work here establishing a story that blends the past and present seamlessly, and at times almost too seamlessly. I do love the subtlety of the initial reveal that establishes Clem’s years long mysterious absence and Mat’s fragility in accepting her beloved’s disappearance. I also enjoyed the nuanced, gradual reveals within the days leading up to Clem’s vanishing.
Although I still find myself puzzled with what exactly happened in the end. Clem wanders into the woods and then…. and then… Is it Mat? Is it Jerry? Is it something strangely otherworldly? I’m still unsure, and when the lights came down and the trio took the stage to accept their well earned applause, my mind was taken by a strong sense of ‘No, wait, come back! We’re not done! What happened?’
Odd One Out is easily one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Fringe Festival this year. When you see it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same. Go see it.
- Odd One Out plays at the Tarragon Extraspace. (30 Bridgman 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.
- Content Warning: Sexual Content.
- This venue is barrier-free. Patrons who use wheelchairs or who cannot climb stairs are seated in the front row.
- Friday July 7th, 08:30 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 11:15 pm
- Monday July 10th, 04:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 02:45 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 07:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 05:15 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 02:30 pm
Photo of Mattie Driscoll, Jesse Byiers, Krystina Bojanowski by Natalia Tcherniak