What would you do for what you wanted? That is the question at heart of Peaches On A Cherry Tree playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s a dark, surrealistic production – a strange play, intentionally so.
Rose (Kyah Green) learns that her partner Viv (Alexandra Hurley) has a terminal condition. She decides she can’t live without Viv and so wants to die with her.
They seek the help of Dr. Shelley Nesbit (Christy Bruce), who seems to have reservations about Rose and Viv wanting to die by her hands. Off to the side stands the seemingly unconnected Harold (Lance Boyd) who spends his time writing a letter to get his longer than normally estranged wife back.
Everything in the piece feels deliberate, in a good way. Even scene changes are done with a disturbing ritualistic flair. They stood out to me and became a part of the play.
Despite how dark the show can get below the surface, it is still incredibly funny. Green delivered what I thought were the funniest lines of the whole piece.
The action jumps from a heartfelt discussion about Viv and Rose’s love for each other and how they are going to die together; to a strangely hilarious death montage, were Rose does what she can to get terminally ill herself.
The montage scene was a riot, and I laughed every time Hurley held out the next death item as if she were a model on a game show. But it didn’t matter how funny things were, Bruce brought the scenes back to darkness with her quietly revealed malevolence.
Normally when I write a review, I start typing away immediately after the show. I had to stop and have to think about what I was going to write with this one.
There was a lot in the show that I loved, but it is strange enough that it is hard to put into words. Which, when I do the math, means I liked the show. I enjoy shows that leave me contemplating them later, and this one most certainly did.
- Peaches On A Cherry Tree 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; 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.
- Wednesday July 3rd, 6:45 pm
- Friday July 5th, 10:30 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 7:00 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 4:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 12:45 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 8:30 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 1:45 pm
Photo of Alexandra Hurley and Kyah Green by Paul Aihoshi