Before the show even started, the audience was treated to some bluesy music that helped to set the atmosphere.
When the show started, I was immediately struck by the camaraderie between Hayley (Hayley Pace playing herself) and Marisa (Cate D’Angelo). It really felt like they were longtime friends.
High School Symphony is basically a story about how these two friends became alienated from each other, and is inspired by Hayley Pace’s own life. In fact, the most memorable part of the show for me was when Marisa, Hayley, and various other characters got into a huge fight mediated by passing notes. The confusion and chaos of the scene worked well, and the marching band successfully added to the pandemonium.
It’s fitting that I was struck by this scene in particular, considering that Pace was inspired to create High School Symphony by a bunch of notes she found in her old bedroom. The only downside to this scene was that the loud music from the marching band made it difficult to hear some of the lines – but maybe that was the point.
High School Symphony is ridiculous and melodramatic, but it works given the subject matter. Pace and D’Angelo play off of each other well, and manage to make the whole convoluted high school drama of the story believable. This is clearly a labour of love for Pace, and D’Angelo plays Marisa with a noticeable moxie about her.
My favourite absurd moment was when Marisa & Hayley were discussing Marisa’s future wedding. I also enjoyed when the marching band played their instruments in the aisles of the auditorium while simultaneously playing with an inflatable beach ball. Another standout was Adam Borohov’s Sarah. He legitimately acted like a whiny teenaged girl, and it was entertaining to watch.
Revealing how some of the more serious moments of the show were handled would ultimately spoil the plot for those who haven’t seen it. Let’s just say that the press release is pretty accurate in its description.
There were some minor technical issues, and I couldn’t hear some of the lines as a result. A few of the plot lines, such as how Marisa was in charge of handing out the milk for lunch, could have been clearer.
Overall, though, I enjoyed High School Symphony. The cast was very talented, and the marching band angle of the story added to its appeal.
- High School Symphony 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.
- Content Warnings: Mature language; Sexual content.
- 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.
- Thursday July 5th, 7:00 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 1:15 pm
- Monday July 9th, 2:30 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 3:30 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 11:00 pm
- Friday July 13th, 5:15 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 3:30 pm
Photo of Jeremey Deveaux, Cate D ’Angelo,vNick Marshall, Maddy Ius, Ryan Percival, Hayley Pace, Stu Mein, Daniel Walsh, Luc Gaylie, Adam Borohov , Monty Monteleone, Matt Seto, and Joseph Burdi by Ron Van Zutphen.