An Atlas, A Necktie & Other Concerns produced by Period. Productions and playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival blends surrealism and puzzles in a very interesting examination of friendship and growing up.
I love escape rooms. The exploration, the teamwork, the tactile experience of using objects and space to solve a puzzle is something I just love. So when a play built around four women trying to solve an escape room while working through personal issues was announced for Fringe I couldn’t help but jump at it.
I can’t deny that An Atlas, A Necktie & Other Concerns wasn’t quite what I was expecting. If I’m honest I was expecting something rather straightforward, either a classic relationship piece with a unique setting or something with the escape room being at the forefront and the characters taking a backseat to the audience trying to figure out the provided clues much like a TV mystery show.
Instead, the play takes more from Waiting for Godot than CSI. There’s a very surrealist feeling throughout the show where character actions and choices have far more meaning than simply figuring out a clue or playing with a random prop.
For all that implied imagery, however, there’s a real tangible soul within the show and the entire cast really captures that, with each character feeling well-rounded both in writing and performance.
The only speed bump I personally found when it came to the show was there were a couple times where I figured out the provided clues before the characters and as someone who drives people nuts announcing my theory about halfway through any mystery show I had to bite my tongue a few times. If you’re like me you should be aware that this is NOT an audience participation show and you need to respect your fellow audience members and the performers.
As long as you’re comfortable with that, An Atlas, A Necktie & Other Concerns is a well constructed and enjoyable experience with enough mystery to keep you guessing right up until the end.
- An Atlas, A Necktie & Other Concerns plays at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. (30 Bridgman 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; for adult audiences.
- This venue is barrier-free. Designated accessible seating is in the middle of the auditorium.
- 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.
- Thursday July 4th, 10:15 pm
- Friday July 5th, 4:45 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 1:15 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 8:00 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 9:30 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 6:15 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 4:15 pm
Photo of Yvonne Addai, Chantel McDonald, Myrthin Stagg, Blythe Haynes by Sabina Lambert