Allegra and Serena present: Twinsations (Party Time Productions) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Picture of Sara and Alene Shanazarian in Allegra & Serena present: Twinsations

Allegra & Serena present: Twinsations, a 60-minute musical comedy playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a fun, light-hearted piece that will please all theatre enthusiasts.

Twins Allegra Shanazarian and Serena Shanazarian were on the path to become child stars of the ’90s. Always in the shadow of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, these two sisters can’t let go of the past. We follow Allegra and Serena in their attempt to find stardom in film and on Broadway.

Allegra & Serena present: Twinsations talks in depth about the acting process from classes, to auditions, to agents, to booking gigs. The information is all too familiar for anyone who has been involved in theatre. The show within a show is relatable to the theater community.

One memorable sketch was an “intermission” scene where Allegra and Serena demonstrate what they actually do during intermission. They sit next to each other in silence, drinking water and eating snacks for what feels like at least five minutes. The scene was a crowd favorite because it is all too real for anyone who’s been an actor in a theatre performance.

Another moment I found particularly entertaining was a flashback to a pre-teen jazz set. Allegra and Serena sing about MASH (a popular game of the early 2000s) and sing about making s’mores. The songs were perfectly coupled with piano and synced to choreography. Allegra and Serena showcase both charm and pizazz.

The use of minimal props is effective. The style of their clothes and hair models the ’90s and early 2000s look. By the looks of their outfits, these actors are indeed children of the ’90s. I found the references to Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, and popular TV and film of the era quite enjoyable because it evoked a sense of nostalgia.

The piece was strong, but I found it hard to empathize with the characters. The twins make it clear that they want to find stardom like the Olsen twins, yet their objective seemed to be centered solely on fame, adoration, or money.

Allegra and Serena are clearly skilled performing artists. Serena plays a bossy, quick-witted sister while Allegra plays the aloof, compassionate sister. The difference in their onstage personalities creates an effective dynamic for the performance.

Serena is enchanting in her vocal performance. She moves with intention and is always present. Allegra showcases strength in her dance. She is sweet and sincere.

Overall, Allegra & Serena present: Twinsations is a strong crowd pleaser. The piece seems to be intended for young theatre audiences. It is a fun, light hearted piece that will take give you an eye opening experience of “the biz.”

Details

  • Allegra & Serena present: Twinsations plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: mature language; not recommended for children.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 3rd, 10:00 pm
  • Friday July 5th, 8:15 pm
  • Sunday July 7th, 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 9th, 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 10th, 8:15 pm
  • Thursday July 11th, 9:45 pm
  • Saturday July 13th, 6:15 pm
  • Sunday July 14th, 12:30 pm

Photo of Sara and Alene Shanazarian provided by the company

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