Touching, unique, and sincere, Climb uses movement, dance, and acting to bring a lively and emotive original album to life onstage. Climb is playing at St. Stephen’s Community House as part of the
Toronto Fringe Festival.
Upon entering the smoke-filled auditorium of St. Stephen’s Community House, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and staging. I was also surprised to see a merchandise table – a rare find, I thought – for theatre, and especially for Fringe. Little did I know that this was less a play, and more of a concert with a story.
Duane Forrest, Climb‘s creator, introduces us to his show casually; he speaks to the audience as if he has known us for his entire life. The way Forrest seamlessly connects and shares his story with the audience alludes to his past experiences as a musician; he knows how to hold a stage. Forrest’s storytelling and narration are enrapturing, and I only wish there was more of it throughout the piece.
The majority of Climb‘s story is told through movement, dance, and scenes between performers Dwain Murphy and Sandra Aguilar – most often performed behind a large, translucent black screen. What I found questionable is that some dialogue was pre-recorded and mimed, where at other times the dialogue was spoken live. This seemed like an odd choice and detracted from my investment in many scenes. This distraction was exacerbated by the fact that much of the recorded dialogue sounded inauthentic and rehearsed.
The interdisciplinary nature of the show lends itself well to the structure of the piece. The use of dance to fill space and add life to Forrest’s songs is dynamic, and fun energetic choreography carries the energy between scenes. But the real power of Climb is felt when Forrest stands alone center-stage; with such natural control of the audience, he wonderfully bookends his story.
Ultimately, Climb is a lighthearted and heartwarming story based around compelling original music. Check it out at St. Stephen’s Community House from now until July 12th, and look into Duane Forrest‘s original music for a sneak peek at the show before you go.
- Climb is playing at St. Stephen’s Community House. (91 Bellevue Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warning: Fog or haze effects.
- The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 7:30 pm
- Thursday July 5th, 7:30 pm
- Friday July 6th, 7:30 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 7:30 pm
- Monday July 9th, 7:30 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 7:30 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 7:30 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 7:30 pm
Proceeds from the show support Forrest’s charity Genesis Community of the Arts, which offers free music and arts programming to marginalized youth in Central America.
Photo of Jennalee Dejardins (past Mariela) & Dalton Amador (Mariela’s father) by Jason Akinrinsa