Didn’t Hurt (Tonic Records) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Rodney Decroo in Didn't Hurt

Rodney DeCroo gives a tour de force performance in Didn’t Hurt, his solo show now playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, directed by TJ Dawe. Courageously baring the bloody guts of decades-long trauma on stage, DeCroo delivers a master class in enduring, and learning to live with complex PTSD.

DeCroo takes us through his history of trauma, and paints no idyllic picture of his past. Following a childhood bloodied by severe child abuse at the hands of his father, a Vietnam war veteran, and by living in poverty, his adolescence and adulthood are plagued by relentless violence and a blazing forest fire of self destruction and pain.

The material is unflinchingly heavy, and DeCroo delivers emotional sucker punch after emotional sucker punch. He stuns as a performer, oscillating between childhood innocence and blunt, hot rage. He takes us to the bottom of his suffering, to his darkest hours, and then shows us his way forward. Through therapy, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, art, and with the helping hands of others, DeCroo has found a way to withstand the aftershocks of his trauma.

DeCroo’s story is one of powerful, affecting resiliency. He gives himself over fully to delivering his sermon: there is a way through the storm. This show has deepened my understanding of, and compassion for, those among us living with shrapnel from trauma. Didn’t Hurt is a must see reflection on one man’s climb out of his own personal hell, and a resounding reminder of the recovery that is possible, even when we feel wounded beyond repair.

Thank you Rodney, for sharing your story.


  • Didn’t Hurt plays at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. (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; sexual content; realistic violence or gore; not recommended for children.
  • This venue is barrier-free. Patrons who use wheelchairs or who cannot climb stairs are seated 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.


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

Photo of Rodney DeCroo by Diane Smithers