Nocturnal Space (Familiar Faces) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Robyn Bedford, Madison Burgess, Victoria Gubiani, Shaelynn Lobbezoo, Paige Sayles from "Nocturnal Space."

Nocturnal Space by Familiar Faces at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival is a contemporary dance piece asking the questions: What really is our reality? When looking in a mirror, how do we know that what we see is an honest reflection? Ask yourself, ‘Have I ever actually, truly, seen me?’

The piece features 6 dancers in tattered, post-apocalyptic clothing, grappling with the dark, confusing and sometimes mysterious aspects that make up our reality.

These dancers demonstrate fierce commitment and are in nearly constant motion for 50 straight minutes. They somersault, fall from handstands and slingshot from pulled fabric. They universally demonstrate great athleticism and create moments of both stillness and hurried angst.

The production features an interesting music backdrop that I can only describe as ambient thunderstorms, though it went well with what this piece is trying to achieve. As well, the artistic choice to include humming in a dance performance is interesting and in my opinion, paid off.

While the skill of the dancers is most definitely commendable, and the production as a whole is well put together, I can’t say the same for the choreography. Call me old fashioned, but when I watch dance, I want to be wowed by the choreography and this just didn’t do it for me. I found many choices to be predictable and like I’ve seen it before. Although the piece dealt with complex existential themes, I had a hard time following and felt like conceptually, the piece was a little “one note.” I wanted to see more moments of connection between the dancers, instead it seemed rushed.

All in all Nocturnal Space explores some deep themes and has some great emotional moments, but the physical storytelling unfortunately seems to hinder the piece more than it helps it.

Details

  • Noctural Space plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina 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.
  • This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Thursday July 5th, 6:30 pm
  • Friday July 6th, 1:15 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 6:45 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 7:00 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 5:45 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 9:45 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 12:00 pm

Photo of Robyn Bedford, Madison Burgess, Victoria Gubiani, Shaelynn Lobbezoo, Paige Sayles by Sidonia Cole.

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