Plum Crazy is a modern-day whodunnit performing at Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace. While I wished for more out of this Toronto Fringe show, the team have a solid foundation to work with and there’s room for this show to evolve.
The story takes place in a high-end fashion shop. When a large sum of money gets stolen, tensions flare with secrets being revealed and allegiances formed.
As someone who has worked retail quite a bit in her life, the show felt realistic and I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to my experiences trying to balance the cash and tolerate grating co-workers. One way in which this play reflected real life, though, is that most of the characters weren’t particularly likable. Although, I especially enjoyed the charm and quiet dignity of model salesman Gordon (Harold Tausch).
I don’t know whether or not this was deliberate, but the business owner Ms. Hines (Drea Burck) felt like a pretty effective villain character. She accuses her employees of theft with no proof, locks them in the store against their will until the culprit is found, installs hidden security cameras without her team’s knowledge or consent — including in the change rooms — and uses private conversations with employees as a way to sow chaos and pit them against each other. I can think of a large number of ethics and employee rights violations that she is committing without remorse. Considering the play’s morality themes, I was surprised her actions were never called out nor the subject of karma.
Overall, this play felt more like a character study than a mystery. The motivations and backstories of the store employees are revealed in a generally rank-and-file fashion with not many surprises. Unfortunately, when characters don’t all get fully fleshed out stories that lay out their motivations in detail, it takes away the sense of twist or shock factor.
I could tell the cast were committed to the work, and with the script, they have a solid idea. With more development, it could take off and be truly unique and exciting.
- Plum Crazy plays at the Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace. (345 Carlaw 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.
- 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, 7:45 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 10:15 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 5:00 pm
- Monday July 8th, 6:00 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 4:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 6:45 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 2:45 pm
Cast Photo L-R: Julie Mahendran, Drea Burck, Lindsay Ellis, Harold
Tausch, Brian Russell, Alex Franks.
Photographer: Joel Haszard