Houston, we have an astronomically good musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival 2018 called One Small Step. Written by Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston, and performed by Edge of The Sky Theatre, this play about a play does not disappoint.
The story: the new drama teacher refuses to put on a school musical, but the show must go on! Zach (comical Gregory Solomon) convinces his mother — mayor of Milton — to let them use the City Hall auditorium. But there are conditions: the teens must put on a play written by Zach, they must give Zach some speaking lines, and they must tell the story of Milton-born Chris Hadfield.
Fortunately, earnest theatre lover Jill (Kelsey Verzotti) takes control of the situation, rounds up a newly invigorated cast and crew, manages egos and fights fires, and eventually brings the Hadfield story to life. The team’s quirks get lots of laughs: choreographer Nicky (Georgia Bennett) is jealous of Monique’s dancing ability to the point of simplifying the moves so that she can perform them just as well; assistant stage manager Morgan (Jack Stevens) constantly repeats the stage manager’s commands as if assistant stage management is his mission in life; costume designer Diego (Elijah Manalo) obsesses over Hadfield’s moustaches. We never stop laughing at the characters’ individual peculiarities. One young man whose name I never caught successfully embodies creepiness, whether taking on a vampire-like aura or portraying Hannibal Lecter, arms bound in an imaginary straitjacket.
Apart from the funniness, I enjoyed countless things in this musical. In my personal opinion, Kelsey Verzotti as Jill was a stand-out performer thanks to her voice, presence and determination. I also loved the dreamy rendition of “That’s Why We Need Music”, which literally sent chills down my spine. Zach’s ridiculous man-in-the-moon costume was wonderfully doltish, and the final song “Look Up” ended the show in a pretty awesome way; the theatre went black, and the cast held small lights, making the stage into a night sky.
If you like to root for teens with purpose, laugh at their eccentricities, enjoy original music and stay cool in a perfectly air-conditioned theatre, then One Small Step is a must-see.
- One Small Step plays at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
- 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.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 6:30 pm
- Friday July 6th, 12:45 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 12:00 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 4:45 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 6:30 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 8:45 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 7:00 pm