My extremely discerning and highbrow critical response on leaving this show was, and I quote, “So fun!” And it was! If you’re a fan of tap dancing and old MGM musicals, The Laundry List is guaranteed to please.
The show is set in 1919, where prohibition and gangsters abound. The girls of Frankie’s Laundromat scrub clothes by day, then take the stage as chorus girls at night. The laundry list in question refers to the details of Frankie’s bootlegging business. One day, two sisters (Amy Lintunen and Gen Fullerton) show up to join the chorus and get their hands on the list, before the mob or the cops can get their hands on the sisters first.
The story is simple enough, but the main draw is the choreography. The show is nearly 60 minutes of constant motion, and the dancers frequently sing along too – without getting winded, which impressed this out-of-shape reviewer. The choreography by Lintunen and Trina Josdal is appropriate for the time period, with plenty of Charlestons and shimmies. The tap dancing of the six dancers is tight and well-synced, which is important for a crisp sound on stage. I also enjoyed that they occasionally incorporate their laundromat props, like washboards and pails, into their movement.
Other highlights of the show include Andrea Pang as nightclub singer Fanny St. Cyr, and Raoul Wilke as a likable janitor. Nobody notices the janitor, until Wilke busts out with a few moves of his own, adding some more modern choreography into the show.
There are some great classic songs to enjoy like “Ain’t She Sweet”, “I Got Rhythm” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Pang is a lovely singer, accompanied by pianist Donavon LeNabat. And if you’re lucky, you just might get some free candy as the actors wander through the audience!
My one critique is that the actors don’t seem to be miked onstage, and their dialogue sometimes gets drowned out by their tap shoes. But overall, The Laundry List will have you whistling Gershwin and shuffling all the way home.
- The Laundry List plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route.
- 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.
- Friday July 5th, 4:15 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 6:30 pm
- Monday July 8th, 3:30 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 3:45 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 10:30 pm
- Friday July 12th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 5:45 pm
Photo of Christine Carr, Yarnel Bender Liisa Smith, Trina Josdal, Sebastian Marziali and Amy Lintunen, by E.S Cheah.,