When I chose this show to review, it was called Meg Makes Mistakes, and I wish this charming short solo about love and relationships and, well, errors in judgement had retained its original title. Instead it’s in the Toronto Fringe Festival program as Meg MacKay: Freelance Witch and is playing at the in Tarragon Theatre’s small but mighty Solo Room. It’s maybe about three-quarters of the way to being a finished piece, but somehow that’s part of the pleasure in it.
The eponymous Meg MacKay performs no discernible witchcraft in the show, so you can leave your summoning crystals and runic dictionaries at home. There is, however, a bit of magic at work, because MacKay’s somewhat aw-shucks storytelling style and her not-especially-polished delivery combine into a completely adorkable alchemy. She’s very funny, in the do-the-voices-and-make-the-faces kind of way but also with a sterling comic timing – no beat was longer or shorter than ideal.
MacKay is with the audience in a very real way, in this show. Whether in building out the timeline of an abusive relationship or explaining her hasty decision to take a job as a cat sitter in Oman on a sort of anywhere-but-here whim, she’s not terribly different in style or affect than I imagine she would be telling stories at a potluck.
Meg MacKay: Freelance Witch is a little short. I clocked it at 38 minutes from the end of the territorial acknowledgement to the applause, and I think here’s where a rigorous dramaturg could have helped matters. There are more details, more description, more atmosphere to go along with the plot that I think someone with experience working with/on solo storytellers could have helped draw out; there’s a robustness that the piece lacks so far. That said, it has an undeniable charm. I found myself rooting unreservedly for the show and the performer, both.
- Meg MacKay: Freelance Witch plays at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. (30 Bridgman 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: Mature language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. Check in at the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime, and a staff member will escort you to the venue. Accessible seating is in the front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Thursday July 5th, 6:00 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 8:30 pm
- Monday July 9th, 5:45 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 8:15 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 9:45 pm
- Friday July 13th, 10:30 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 4:30 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 12:30 pm
image provided by the company.