FOLLOW ME (SURGE Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

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FOLLOW ME (SURGE Theatre) playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival

The beauty of the Fringe is to see an array of performances that you wouldn’t see throughout the year. It’s that level of risking taking that is essential to the festival, and SURGE Theatre with FOLLOW ME fully encapsulate this idea.

FOLLOW ME is eager to showcase its talent within Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace. It’s the intricate movement and physical work that ties around the minds and curiosities of the audience. With mind-boggling prop use, you wonder “how long did that take to master?”

Alexi Pedneault, Stefan Till, Elizabeth Staples, and Lisa Alves utilize this long, enclosed piece of red yarn that is the predominant feature of the show. On a bare stage, it shapes the playing space and controls the majority of the movement done between the ensemble. It’s pleasing to watch this potential nightmare of a prop to be handled effortlessly by all cast members. It creates a great back and forth of the power shifts between the actors.

We are encouraged to follow the ensemble, but there are moments that lose touch and feel lost. There are notes that hone in on the human experience with body issues and crushing anxiety, but there’s a disconnect from the emotional focus that these topics require. Moments in between the exchanges of the rope are sometimes distracting. These transitions and set-ups of the rope draw away from some intensity of the topics being spoken.

Also, an invitation for audience participation is engaged and dropped as soon as it’s introduced. It creates pacing issues, especially being right at the tail-end of the performance where we are expecting to follow through with it, but nothing major comes out of it.

FOLLOW ME has potential in being a raw emotional piece of theatre. The physicality is on point and the ensemble is pulling off some great risks. Stringing out some of the intention will for sure make this a well-rounded theatre experience.

Details

  • FOLLOW ME plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (16 Ryerson 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 Warnings: Mature language; Sexual content.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the very front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 9:45 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 2:15 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 9:45 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 11:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 5:45 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 12:00 pm

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