RAGE AGAINST the King, produced by Pound Ionesco Faulkner at Toronto Fringe Festival, is the third part of a trilogy being performed this year where different groups are writing around a single incident and creating unrelated stories. This is important to know because we thought that we would be lost not having seen the others. Thankfully that isn’t the case; each one has its own story and can be viewed on their own.
RAGE AGAINST the King is about a fading local grunge musician named Izzy, played by Tristan Claxton, who is trying to strike out on his own; his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Lilah, played by Laura Darby; and Eden the jr. label associate assigned to get Izzy back with the band, played by Samantha Vu.
In this production, there were moments where I felt genuine emotion which allowed me to connect to the characters. Sadly, they were few, and the rest of the time the characters didn’t feel like people in their own right, but more ideological mouthpieces. When Eden started to elaborate about what the band’s music meant to her, I got the sense that she had some actual stakes in what was happening. The same happened at the end when Izzy started talking about his father and music, and what that meant to him. There the characters were able to show a depth that didn’t exist for me for most of the play.
The show itself felt very uneven. Vu was caught in the middle of the conflict, and Eden as a character felt lost. Darby was far stronger as Robyn, the label executive, than Lilah because Lilah came across as a lot younger than she was supposed to be, and Robyn had defined parameters. Claxton was armed with the strongest dialogue in the show, and it helped him provide the most consistent performance. Ultimately, tone prevented me from being invested in the performance since it was frequently at the full volume of a yell rather than mixing it up.
My final takeaway is from the play itself. The script says, “there were a lot of words, and the words are empty.” For me, this reverberated throughout the show.
- RAGE AGAINST the King plays at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College 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; Smoking; Fog or haze effects; Strobe lights.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through usage of a painfully slow elevator. We recommend making sure you arrive a few minutes early.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 8:45 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 1:45 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 3:30 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 4:30 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 7:45 pm
- Friday July 13th, 11:30 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 8:45 pm
Photo of Rage Against the King provided by the company