Set in the Middle Ages, The Kingdom of Awesome is under attack by a fierce dragon. The King calls on the Great Knights to defeat the dragon, but somehow the job falls on a lonely juggler. Toronto Fringe Festival presents a family-friendly production of Dungee the Dragon & the Just-Okay Juggler at the George Ignatieff Theatre. With light-hearted humour, a sassy dragon puppet, and knife juggling, this story will leave you giggling for more.
As I enter the theatre of the sold out performance of Dungee & the Just-Okay Juggler, the excitement all around is uncanny. Giddy with excitement, a swarm of kid await the infamous Dungee to appear. As the audience filters in, Dungee the Dragon pokes its head in and out of the wings onstage. As Dungee does so, the children squeal with delight.
Boyer utilizes props to indicate the various characters that he will transform into which include a king, two knights, a juggler, and a dragon (puppet). He is clear in his presentation of which character he is embodying. Boyer utilizes the neutral voice of a narrator in between his transformations. I particularly appreciated how Boyer ensures that each character announces himself by announcing their title such as “I am the knight.” It is a great method to ensure that young audience members can follow along the plot.
Boyer makes it clear to children and adults when audience participation is encouraged. He using gestures or provides explicit instruction of appropriate ways to add to the story. For instance, every time he states the king’s name, the audience is encouraged to “boo.” Judging my the delight on kids and adults in the audience, audience members enjoyed being a part of the story creation.
Toward the end of the show, Boyer travels through the audience as if he is on a journey to find the cave. It was a clever tactic on Boyer’s part to utilize this type of audience interaction toward the end of the show. By doing so, young audience members remained engaged. The audience is encouraged to create eery sounds, crackling noises, and imitate wind. Every time Boyer passed through the audience, the children around him beamed with delight.
Boyer is personable, lovable, and multi-talented. His storytelling abilities combined with his juggling skills make for an entertaining, family friendly piece. As an added bonus, Boyer integrates common themes related to courage, persistence, and self esteem. He provides families and caregivers wonderful opportunities to extend conversation beyond the show.
If you have a young adventurous storyteller in your life, be sure to travel to the Kingdom of Awesome to see Dungee & the Just-Okay Juggler.
- Dungee the Dragon & the Just-Okay Juggler plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Tickets for Kidsfest shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $13.
- 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 Warning: audience participation.
- The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
- Don’t miss the Kidsfest club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
- 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, 4:30 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 11:30 am
- Sunday July 7th, 1:45 pm
- Monday July 8th, 1:15 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 4:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 12:30 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 12:45 pm
Poster image provided by the company