Scotch Tape (For the Biscuit Theatre) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Marryl Smith in Scotch TapePerfection doesn’t stick in For the Biscuit Theatre‘s Scotch Tape playing at the Streetcar Crowsnest Studio as part of the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival

Vlogger Maggie (Marryl Smith) is on the cusp of the perfect life and has just gotten engaged to her boyfriend. Structured as a series of videos recorded for editing later, Scotch Tape slowly pulls back the curtain from Maggie’s ideal lifestyle to show a dark truth.

I felt like there wasn’t much new being said– the ‘truth’ is evident a mile away– but there didn’t need to be.

What really struck me about this piece was that it felt very young. Not that that’s a bad thing, in my opinion. In fact, I think it was that young adult theatre vibe that really hit home even if that wasn’t the ultimate goal of the story.

In particular, I like how it does speak almost directly to teenaged girls. There is a very smart discussion of receiving inappropriate pictures in one scene that was spot on. Something about it captured the adult struggle of answering young girls’ questions when there is no good answer.

Smith, who also wrote the play, is sympathetic in her role, especially when Maggie has minute realizations such as a slight widening of the eyes, or a fading smile.

What fails her, in my opinion, is the static nature of the work. Director Clarice Goetz focuses the show as a vlogger would set about recording a video. Good idea in theory, but more challenging in the theatre itself.

While it makes sense in the narrative to break down the monologues into videos, on-stage I think it would have been nice to see Smith get the chance to release her pent-up energy a bit more. At the moment I felt like watching her sit and stare at a camera killed so much momentum.

It also literally hid her from my sight line half the time because of the layout of the seating in the theatre. Much of the audience was leaning over, trying to see what was happening on stage, unless they were in the front row.

There is so much that is good in Scotch Tape. It just needs a bit more piecing together.

Details

  • Scotch Tape plays at the Streetcar Crowsnest Studio. (345 Carlaw 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; realistic violence or gore; for adult audiences.
  • 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

  • Thursday, July 4th, 10:15 pm
  • Friday, July 5th, 7:45 pm
  • Saturday, July 6th, 1:30 pm
  • Tuesday, July 9th, 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, July 11th, 9:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 13th, 6:45 pm
  • Sunday, July 14th, 4:15 pm

Photo of Marryl Smith by Clarice Goetz

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