Is Astrology actually reliable? Does the alignment of planets and stars at your birth really effect your personality? And just what the heck does Mercury in Retrograde actually mean? The Astrology Play raises these questions and more at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, as part of the Toronto Fringe 2019.
In this show, our heroine Krystal (Katie Gorham) is on a one-girl mission to convince the world to take her passion for astrology seriously. Her exploits make for a campy and curious romp through what makes us tick as people.
Although astrology doesn’t hold up under examinations of modern scientific methods, it can still be enjoyed for its philosophical applications and historical significance. In fact, the play opens with Mercury (played by Cory Larsen and Kloë Kinsman) explaining the impact of the star signs on works of Shakespeare.
This play is thoughtfully-conceived and topical, since a Mercury retrograde is set to occur during the Fringe. This is when the planet appears to be moving backwards to the naked eye, and with it the things that the planet represents – such as communication – go awry. In non-astro-speak, it means people are more prone to error and uncharacteristic behaviour. At least if you believe in that sort of thing.
I wish this play more accessible to beginners or skeptics of astrology – terms like “natal chart” and “moon sign” being thrown around might put you in a tizzy. However, the play lets people draw their own conclusions about the practice. Even Mercury himself can’t help but laugh at Krystal’s over-eager cosmic analyses. Larsen is energetic and earnest in his role, and I’d love to watch him do something like a one-man show spin off with his character, explaining the ins and outs of astrology. While the whole cast was endearing, he kept us grounded and engaged, even when going backwards.
With the debating about the legitimacy of astrology aside, this group of performers put on a vibrant show. Designer Kloë Kinsman dresses the stage with a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling tapestry themed around space and the signs. I want to see it hung in an art gallery. I’m not kidding.
Whether or not this show changes any minds, it is a self-actualizing and affirming story that injects a healthy dose of fun and whimsy into the Fringe experience.
This review is based on the July 4th preview performance of the production.
- The Astrology Play 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; fog or haze effects; strobe lights; not recommended for children.
- 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.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Thursday July 4th, 10:15 pm (preview)
- Saturday July 6th, 8:45 pm
- Monday July 8th, 9:15 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 6:15 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 7:45 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 5:00 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 12:00 pm
Photo by Dylan Coutts, featuring Cory Larsen, Sadie Anne Hirschfield, Eleni Dimitriou, and Hailey Balaz